Commentary

Marketers' Two Biggest Blind Spots

The last decade has represented a massive shift in the fundamentals of marketing, as we moved from a world constrained by the number of channels we had to reach customers to one in which our biggest challenge was how to deliver and personalize messages.

The demand for content keeps rising due to the growth of a brand’s markets, the channels at its disposal, and the ability to maintain ever-more targeted segments.

While this constantly evolving martech landscape is a boon for brands, many modern marketers are overwhelmed by the volume of new tools and technologies available. In a recent report, most marketers admitted marketing technology is evolving faster than their company’s ability to utilize it, leaving organizations in a constant state of catch-up.

This disconnect often stems from blind spots that hinder marketing’s full, effective transformation. Often marketers are so focused on  short-term goals — whether it’s churning out enough content for the next campaign or launching a new product—that they don’t pause to reflect on whether their marketing processes are fresh, innovative, or evenexistent.

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From my experience, here are the biggest blind spots inhibiting true marketing transformation:

Insatiable demand for content without a formal strategy. In its 2018 predictions, Gartner explained that “personalization will become standard for brand engagements, but lack of scalable content creation processes will become the limiting factor for success.”

In other words, marketers did such a good job implementing software solutions to help with the targeting and distribution of content that they’ve created a new challenge for themselves: content creation. Brands are faced with a seemingly insatiable demand for fresh and engaging content, but marketers often don’t have a formal framework or strategy in place. Without that, there’s no way to ensure content translates to valuable customer experiences, or that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel next time a big campaign comes around.

Disconnect between marketing leaders and the front lines.  While most marketers agree that experimentation is vital in today’s fast-changing martech ecosystem, they aren’t putting the processes in place to allow for that experimentation.

According to the  book “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader,” marketing leaders are at the top of the overworked list, with 39% of CEOs admitting their CMOs’ workload is too heavy.

Marketing leaders are often too mired in the details to empower those on the front lines to experiment or innovate. The marketing process can easily falter if disruptive thinking isn’t a conscious part of the planning process. And, to be clear, that’s not just about adding process, but also being purposeful in that process you take away.

The underlying issue behind these blind spots is that most marketers are functioning without overarching systems, inhibiting real transformation. The frameworks, processes and metrics in place aren’t always connected, and there isn’t an underlying belief that process drives outcomes. To address these blind spots and create scalable organizations, marketers need to buy into that belief and find ways to exercise the kind of creativity we know drives meaningful marketing.

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