Marketing Mayhem: Teams Are Stressed Out By The Sheer Number Of Choices

Marketers are challenged by the increasing complexity of the ecosystem  And only a minority think their marketing is first-rate, according to Eliminating Complexity for a Frictionless Marketing Experience, a study from Quad, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.  

Of those polled, only 30% say their marketing is very effective. And 66% feel that the rising complexity in the marketplace is making it harder for them to deliver value. 

For instance, 53% say their team is overwhelmed by the sheer number of channels they need to manage, 20% strongly so. And 59% agree that the need to have specialists for each marketing channel is creating headaches for the team.  

Just how are marketers being affected by the increasing complexity? They cite: 

  • Difficulty optimizing campaign performance — 46% 
  • Increased stress for the marketing team — 44% 
  • Less impact/effective marketing initiatives — 42% 
  • Inefficient spending — 41% 
  • Campaign delays — 40% 
  • Limited transparency into campaign performance across channels — 36% 
  • Too many handoffs between marketing parties (between team members, external partners, etc.) — 31% 
  • Limited transparency into the performance of external team(s) — 27%
  • Negative impact to customer experience — 24% 
  • Negative impact to brand equity — 17%



The study was conducted last October, so it is somewhat dated, although it is being publicized it now. Harvard Business Analytic Services surveyed 527 members of its Business Review audience.  

Of that sample, only 30% describe themselves as as marketing leaders and 43% as followers, with only somewhat effective marketing. Another 27% admit they are laggards.

Perhaps for all these reasons, 89% say it is critical that marketing play a strategic role within their companies.  


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