I’ve been fortunate to attend (and be an invited speaker at) several industry conferences and events this year, and it seems to me that there are some interesting threads that have emerged. In speaking with marketing executives from a wide variety of industries, they have elucidated their primary challenges, and I have distilled these down to the top 3 common problems:
1. Complex solutions are difficult to explain. Marketing executives see one of their prime responsibilities as arming the sales teams (and all market-facing people in the company) with a compelling and consistent way to succinctly articulate the core differentiators that set their solutions apart. Today, however, the explanations and presentations are too complex, too long, and too linear – reducing their effectiveness, and leaving the audience with a lack of clarity in understanding the company’s differentiation. Its is necessary to find a way to simply articulate the primary benefits, advantages, and features of every solution, even the most complex.
2. Marketing budgets continue to decline, but the marketing challenges continue to expand: more geographic distribution; more complexity in the sales/distribution channel; larger product/solutions portfolios; greater global competition, to name a few. It is simply not possible to use traditional methods or tools to accomplish the key marketing objectives with these limited marketing budgets. (Oh, and by the way, social media marketing is simply NOT the silver bullet that can solve this problem.)
3. Inconsistency in the message, depending on who is presenting or demonstrating products and solutions to customers. One medical device manufacturer recently remarked that they counted 64 different powerpoint presentations that their sales team was using – not just minor variations, but completely different messages. Ensuring that everyone in a market/customer-facing role understands and can articulate the correct and relevant differentiation message is paramount. Delivering sales enablement tools that help to control the message (not the salesperson) is a critical challenge.
Do these problems/concerns resonate with you? What are your top 3 marketing challenges?