Can we talk about how glamorous the life of a marketer is for a moment? …I didn’t think so. While the role of a marketer can be incredibly interesting and rewarding, it doesn’t come without challenges. The good news? You’re not alone, you hardworking marketer, you!
The scope of those challenges can differ across industries, so in an effort to understand these pain points we turned to Higher Logic’s trusted marketing experts for insight and solutions.
Regardless of which type of industry marketer you are – association, corporate, B2B, you name it – you might identify with these challenges. Thankfully, we include some resources to help you put your best 2019 marketing strategy into action (with minimal headaches, of course). Bonus: Relatable GIFs 👇
So, bounce around, take what you need, and be sure to educate yourself on pain points that might impact your success in the future (so you can address them before the pain ensues).
1. Staying Up-to-Date with Industry Trends, Tech & Terminology
Ahh, the challenge of staying current in an industry that’s ever-changing… sound all too familiar? Of course it does. HL Marketing Manager Alex Mastrianni aligned this pain point with another important challenge – balancing the day-to-day workload.
Plain and simple: It’s hard to keep up, but we are expected to, so we must. As HL Marketing Specialist Amie Perrott put it:
“The staying up-to-date battle is real. With all sorts of shiny new tools and tactics dangling in front of you, how do we stay with it AND gain buy-in for new tools/strategies?”
Speaking of strategy, check out: Ace 2019 with 6 Expert Marketing Strategy Tips
If you want to gain executive buy-in for what you need, Amie says you better know what you’re talking about, especially if you’re facing a board with a tight budget. This can be the case even if there’s minimal cost - anything that seems “risky” can get pushback. If there are tools that will help you fight this pain point, make the time to do your research first and be ready to prove ROI.
HL Marketing Specialist Tien Dinh identified “correct industry terminology” as a pain point, which is naturally critical if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about and fully understand your professional industry.
His solution? Pay consistent attention to terms customers are using when communicating via online communities, social media platforms, industry publications, or even customer/prospect/competitor websites.
As for the rest, consider some of our additional resources:
2. The Battle with Data Hygiene, Effective Segmentation & Personalization
Clean data is crucial to the foundation of your marketing efforts, especially if you want to use segmentation and personalization to your advantage to achieve business objectives like increasing ROI and improving overall satisfaction and retention. Amie identified this pain point, noting that, especially for associations, she can see how there are gaps across the organization where not everyone understands the value of data hygiene. As she put it:
“Not-so-great data = not-so-great campaigns or member journey mapping/understanding.”
Here is some (not-so-secret) solution advice: Secrets to Keeping Your Association's Data Clean
When you’re battling bad data or lack the resources necessary to create targeted content, segmentation and personalization can seem like a total pain. How can you deliver a seamless personalized experience and provide value if you don't have clean data that helps you understand the behavior and needs of the individuals within your target audience?
The solution for this pain point comes from HL VP of Marketing, Marina Devalia:
“Establishing processes around your data upkeep and leveraging your integrations are key (operationally). That leads to better segmentation and ultimately effective personalization. Leverage automation capabilities to scale your marketing efforts, and recycle good/evergreen content when creating new campaigns.”
Check out the following resources to ease the impact of this pain point:
3. Understanding Data Tracking, Testing, Reporting, and ROI
Alex pointed out that understanding the real impact of your automated campaigns on revenue can be a frustrating pain point for marketers. Familiar with that headache? An essential first step is creating goals for your campaign performance so that when you start running an automated campaign, you can test the campaign, monitor the performance, and track results against your goals. Then, you’ll better understand its impact on membership numbers, revenue, and more.
What can be especially frustrating about testing, Amie pointed out, is “Knowing that testing is valuable, but not having the time to set up testing and/or the time or tools to analyze the success of the tests.”
If you want to improve your engagement and see growth rather than a plateau in performance, testing and refinement are essential.
More on that here: 5 Marketing Automation Features You Need to Start Using Today
Tien mentioned that tracking the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns is another pain point. His solution? Include a call-to-action with a unique URL, QR code, promo code, or phone number.
In regards to your reporting solution, Marina, our VP of Marketing, offered this advice:
“Engagement and reach are important, but don't just look at vanity metrics. Understand the impact on the complete buyer's journey. Integration with your CRM/AMS is key to get visibility into that data and run effective reports that enable your team to market smarter.”
Marina added that cutting through the “marketing noise” can be another pain point as you work toward your goals. She says to keep in mind that:
“It's important to stay up-to-date, but it's not about the email and landing page design/layout. Make it your goal to differentiate with a clear and unique value position in every campaign you run. Whether it's a cool podcast, panel style webinar, interactive infographic you're promoting - the value your audience is getting out of it should be front and center.”
Check out the following resources to expand your knowledge of these solutions:
4. Events: Measuring Success & Maintaining Engagement
Can we talk about how easy it is to pull off the perfect event? …again, I didn’t think so. Whether they like it or not, event planners tend to have a strong relationship with Murphy’s law. Even with all the planning and preparation in the world, as the adage goes, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”
Cue: teaching moments. Thankfully, event marketing professionals are resilient and often take their missteps in stride, using those experiences to fuel more success in the future.
When all is said and done, though, how can event success and ROI be measured?
HL Marketing Events Manager Gina Vavra, who helped us pull off our 9th (and best) annual Super Forum community and marketing automation event, identified this as a common pain point for event marketers. In her position, like many others who manage events, she knows it can be challenging to strategize and prove that events still matter in the marketing mix (they do).
It’s all about providing real value and taking advantage of the resources available to you to measure and analyze your event performance, which is made easier with tools like online community software and event apps. Online communities offer data and insight that can shape your success before, during, and after an event. Check out the resource below to learn more:
Tien chimed in with a related pain point: maintaining engagement after an event.
Marketing automation and online community play a role in these solutions, too. Tien suggests timely follow-up campaigns that flow seamlessly into the next event’s promotion campaigns, segmented by those who attended and those who couldn’t attend. Consider:
Sharing event resources (i.e. slides, recordings, etc.)
Sharing resources and upcoming events that expand on session topics
Driving your audience back to an online community
4. Video Content Marketing
This one comes from HL Chief Marketing Officer, Hunter Montgomery:
“The demand and expectation for videos gets higher every year. However, few understand all that goes into a great video - script, storyboard, format (real people, animation, combo), voice over or text. Videos are seen as the magic marketing bullet by non-marketing people within an organization.”
Hire in-house talent. This allows you the flexibility to create a consistent look and feel that is true to your brand and build a great library while not worrying about the cost of using an outside agency.
Share your successes within the organization. Videos are not only a great way to tell your story to customers and prospects, but also ensure that the company knows how you talk to the world.
Work with other departments when appropriate. This helps shift some of the burdens of the work and builds cross-department relationships.
PS: Video content expectations will continue to rise, but this doesn’t give you permission to start ignoring written content or bypassing its value. Put them to work together! It’s important not to make dramatic changes regarding your content marketing strategy unless they are founded in research. So, you know, don’t go firing all your writers and hiring only video production folks.
As Contently Content Strategist Joe Lazauskas put it:
“Much like boot cut jeans, text will never die. Content will remain an important part of every touchpoint with your customers and prospects. The format will change depending on the channel and purpose. Sometimes it’ll be an article with an interactive graphic on your blog. Sometimes it’ll be a Facebook video with overlay text. Sometimes it’ll be an email newsletter with text and images. Sometimes it’ll be a pitch deck that tells the story of your company. The important thing is that its content your audience will enjoy and find helpful.”
5. Interdepartmental Project Management & Turnaround
Sending too much email? Wondering if you’ll ever live to see the day your project is approved? If your work is complex, are your teams cooperating or collaborating? Not to sound cliche, but how many times have you heard that good communication is the key to successful relationships, professional or otherwise? I know this isn’t the first time. Amie says:
“Keeping associations in mind, there can be a few departments with a lot of people with competing priorities holding any marketer back from turning around a campaign/effort. Between the content creation, logistics work, and sign-off from all involved, it can be a snail's pace before it's out the door. This can also be true where there are too many competing priorities and not all of the campaigns are optimized as they should be to perform well.”
Dialing back to our first pain point, Amie says that understanding what tools/strategies are available to keep everyone on the same page is part of this equation as well.
Tien also noted project management across different departments as a pain point. His solution? Utilize project management/collaboration software to supplement status update meetings and calendars.
Establishing a plan and implementing tools like marketing automation and online community can improve both internal and external communication and ease the pain of lost productivity and engagement due to poor communication or processes. Marketing automation helps you streamline communications across your organization (you know, so that you’re not sending 80 random emails to staff/customers/prospects and annoying the heck out of them).
Educate to Ease the Pain & Move Your Marketing Strategy in the Right Direction with Confidence
The incredible thing about learning to improve your marketing strategy is that there are so many existing resources available to support your organizational goals and help you understand your industry as it continues to evolve. Knowledge is power – get excited about learning and dive into your toolbox of educational resources headfirst. It pays off.
Download the worksheet, Top 5 Automated Campaigns for Associations, to get an outline of five critical campaigns associations should run on a daily basis.