Challenges in Marketing to Customers
“Marketing is on the frontlines of revenue generation and fills a mission critical role in every organisation. Living in a chaotic and rapidly evolving environment is both challenging and energising,” – Anita Brearton
Brands and businesses that operate in modern competitive markets face a raft of operational, financial, and marketing challenges. These stem from the fact that customer expectations and requirements are constantly evolving, competitors are launching new products and services with alacrity, the constant evolution of business and personal technologies, and the growing popularity of the Internet and Internet-enabled technologies. In light of the above, companies are facing key challenges in marketing their products and services to customers. These must be analysed and addressed in the interests of promoting business outcomes and propelling commercial momentum.
One of the primary challenges in marketing lies in incremental competition faced by enterprises in both domestic and international markets. This challenge emerged directly from economic globalisation and the fluent exchange of goods, commodities, and services across all points in the globe. Brands and companies can no longer rely on established trading patterns and the comfort afforded by protectionist government policies. More and more brands are competing for the attention of major customer segments and this alone amplifies the challenges in marketing being faced by commercial organisations. That said, it is worth noting that modern customers are networked and informed individuals that are characterised by high awareness levels. This fact poses additional challenges in marketing because businesses can no longer seek to market cut and dried products to their customers. The sheer choice of goods and services promotes a fickle mind set among customers, thereby exacerbating the situation.
High among the challenges in marketing faced by brands and companies is identifying the correct marketing tools. The very nature of technology is ephemeral and businesses need to acknowledge this before setting course for a particular set of technologies. However, selecting the right technology poses challenges because every single technology demands a different quantum of investment and offers a different return on investment. Brands and businesses can choose to market their wares and merchandise through email, text messages, pop-up kiosks, LED display screens, social media handles, television ad spots, radio jingles, billboards, print advertisements, banner ads, brand advocates, among others. We must note that marketing budgets are typically finite and the challenge emerges when brands need to narrow down their choices and select one (or two) marketing vehicles.
The Internet has emerged as a major platform in commercial horizons. However, it poses certain challenges in marketing in terms of lead generation, and in the attraction of sufficient online traffic. Businesses that choose to centre their marketing strategies on websites and online blogs face the problem of generating online customer traffic. Distinctive content ideas can help to create an exceptional brand presence, but subdued online traffic can defeat the entire exercise and create turbulences in the generation of the expected return on investment. That said, the challenge is amplified when competitors deploy similar online content and manage to attract higher online footfalls, thereby attracting additional customers. In a similar vein, email-driven marketing strategies may create a different set of challenges in marketing when faced with inadequate traction in key markets. In light of the above, we may note that challenges may face even the most innovative marketing tactics and they need to be analysed and solved methodically.
Customer engagement is important in modern commercial operations because it enables brands and businesses to connect with customers at multiple levels. However, customer engagement needs to be planned, and carefully navigated because it has the potential to create challenges in marketing strategies that target the customer. For instance, a brand or business may choose to engage customers face-to-face at major retail and shopping destinations, but this strategy may backfire in a scenario where customers consider this tactic too intrusive of their personal space and a hindrance to their shopping experience. The brand must realise this unintended effect at the earliest and roll back the customer engagement campaign before it inflicts additional damage on the brand or business. This scenario clearly depicts the challenges in marketing faced by modern businesses.
The creation and consolidation of a brand image poses a continuous challenge to all business enterprises. A brand image is a critical aspect of an enterprise and a dented image poses challenges in marketing to customers. For instance, an automobile brand that faces regulatory scrutiny in the wake of business malfeasance needs to institute major damage control measures in an effort to retrieve its corporate reputation and safeguard its market image. The challenges posed by this scenario may operate in the long term and can manifest in a persistent trust deficit with customers and other stakeholders. Clearly, the said brand is at the receiving end of customer ire and may have to face irate stakeholders. This situation poses major challenges in marketing the brand to both new and existing customers. That said, challenges are exacerbated when the business competition chooses to underline the above mentioned situation in a bid to expand market share and to poach customer dollars.
Creating and delivering a unified customer experience poses an active challenge to enterprises that operate in a world populated by multiple devices, competing media platforms, and a range of customer touch points. Any variations in the end-user experience may erode brand equity for a business and create challenges in marketing to its consumers and customers. Management personnel and operations staff members may not share the same perceptions of a brand and business and this divergence can add further turbulence in the creation of a unified customer experience. We must note that such differences in perception may detract from the essential value proposition offered by a brand or business. These scenarios operate to the detriment of a brand and can help competing businesses to pull ahead in terms of market share and strengthen their ability to attract customer dollars.
Budget constraints can create challenges in marketing because every business needs sizeable investments to drive marketing efforts. The said constraints can emerge as a reaction to operating conditions subject to constant change, less than anticipated profit margins, low investor confidence, downturns in the general health of the economy, budget cuts enforced by top management cadre, reduced business confidence, etc. – scenarios that translate to lower departmental budgets and steeply reduced marketing budgets. In such a scenario, businesses have no recourse but to adjust to somewhat straitened circumstances and reduce operational expenditure. That said, such scenarios could persist for a certain timeframe and pose continuous challenges in marketing to customers.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have analyzed some of the situations that can possibly pose challenges to marketing operations and strategies. Every business in the modern world needs to adjust to changes in immediate business conditions and react to the best of its abilities. That said, we must note that a combination of calibrated marketing stratagems can enable brands and businesses to overcome business challenges while conforming to the limits imposed by corporate captains and business managers. Placing the customer squarely at the centre of a marketing strategy can help to achieve some of the goals and enable a business to emerge with flying colors.