Top marketing challenge? Proving ROI

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According to a survey, the top three marketing challenges of respondents is “proving the ROI of marketing activities”, “collaborating between departments/offices” and “adapting to changing consumer behaviors”. While proving marketing ROI remains a top challenge, marketing departments are struggling to keep up to pace with changing consumer behaviors.

Marketing departments are struggling to keep up to pace with changing consumer behaviors. 67% of respondents have buyer personas to help them target and understand their ideal customers , while a vast majority of marketers invest in tools and methods to gain knowledge about their target audience. Clearly, organizations are actively trying to gain more consumer insights.

When it comes to new channels and technologies, only 43% of respondents said that they are early adopters. What’s more striking is that a clear majority of marketers (65%) stated that they would not be investing in new technologies in 2017 , despite all the trend reports surrounding virtual reality, artificial intelligence and beacon technology.

Marketers just never seem to learn as well. Instead of ensuring that they take care of existing customers new customer acquisition is still their number one priority.

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Is there something wrong with increasing profitability via existing customers? Research continues to show that existing customers can be extremely profitable if brands treat them like valuable individuals.

The ability to prove the ROI of marketing activities remains a top challenge for marketers. While marketing departments are figuring out ways to make their marketing efforts more accountable, they are also struggling to collaborate with different departments and of offices, and adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

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My take on this? Too many marketers, for too long, have spent money on “soft branding” tactics that did little to add to the bottom line. Now they are being asked to justify every dollar they spend and for good reason. You can bet that C suite executives are aware of the stories around agency kickbacks and online click fraud.

On the other hand brands that are meeting or exceeding their business objectives should strongly believe that marketing has been instrumental in achieving those goals. The bottom line should be the weekly or monthly sales data that circulate within every company. Asking for marketing’s ROI contribution may be like asking one piston in an engine for a performance analysis.

The majority of our respondents use new customer acquisition numbers to determine the success of brand marketing activities, followed by engagement metrics such as social media engagement and qualitative feedback from customers.

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It’s hard for me to determine why any marketer would use social media engagement as a marketing metric. Social media marketing has given way to social media advertising and the number of people engaging with brands via social media is null and void.

Clearly, marketers are struggling in the age of consumerism and those who have relied on the “old boy network” of agency relationships are in deep trouble. AdAge recently reported that 65% of brand are going to put their ad business up for review this year and for good reason.

Originally published at www.newmediaandmarketing.com on March 26, 2017.

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