The 4 Big Obstacles in Digital Marketing Today

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The marketing technology space has been evolving rapidly beneath our feet for a few years now. It’s become an industry where buzz word bingo can be played in many a meeting, and you’d come out a winner.

But it is all sunshine and roses? Well, the simple answer is no. There are 4 big obstacles in digital marketing today.

To find out more about these obstacles, we caught up with Fred Testard, Account Director at Salmat who worked in direct marketing for 15 years before and in the digital space for 12.  Here are areas, according to him,  that need tackling if we’re going to make progress that keeps the CEO off our backs.

1. The Expectations of a Marketer

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Despite technology advancing faster than ever, the challenge of creating a single view of the customer has been the same for the last ten years. Fred explains:

“Whether it’s big data or customer centricity – the challenge is making sense of it all. It’s getting to a point where there is so much fragmented technology, applications and channels and marketers are just expected to understand it all.

“It’s getting more technical, and the expectations are becoming too much. We need to bring in new skills where it’s needed and not just rely on people to change when it’s often completely changing the dynamics of that person’s skill set.”

2. Attribution is Backwards

“We’re trying to find a solution to a problem that should not exist in the first place.”

Attribution is grey water at the best of times. On the surface, it’s a positive once you get over the technology hurdles, but Fred highlights the contradicting side of the challenge:

“You have marketers saying they want to be customer centric, yet they report channel by channel in a campaign-centric fashion. By the very nature of executing campaigns in this way, it’s creating a split view of a customer.

“One alternative is to keep it simple and focus on your database valuation. That way you can add value to each customer and your only objective is to get them to switch from one segment to the next.”

3. The Heat From the Top

“I read a survey recently stating that 70 percent of CEO’s don’t trust their CMO’s.”

It’s a worrying fact that the CMO is asking for a budget, but the CEO is wondering what the heck they need it for. Fred thinks it all comes down to reporting:

“You spend $1million on a video for a Facebook ad, and it gets 600,000 likes. That’s great, but the CEO is looking for one thing only – ROI.”

“There’s something missing currently, and it’s getting the basics right. If you can track your direct marketing and go back to the CEO with the result, you’re going to have a much better chance of scaling up your operation to more channels.

“One thing we see in Europe is the CFO looking at the customer database value – it’s becoming a company asset be added into a finance report. Marketers should view their database in that way.

4. Jumping Ship

“The grass is not always greener.”

As more jobs become available in the field, the temptation to switch to a new role can be tempting. While a career move can be great when it comes to progression, Fred says choices have to stop being so short-sighted:

“I changed a lot of employers and companies and not always for a good reason, a little pay rise and a decent brand name isn’t enough.  It’s been a big mistake for me personally early on not to think about my growth from the beginning – set a path and work out how to get there.

“It comes down to understanding whether you can express your skills in this role and being very clear about what value you can bring to that specific company.  Spend the time working that out – it will help you find a better match and make your probation period a whole lot less stressful.”

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