In a recent survey conducted by the New Statesman Media Group (NSMG), marketers from around the world were given the opportunity to sound off about the industry.
From familiar issues about shrinking budgets and thinly-spread resources to specific concerns surrounding marketing credibility and poor technological solutions, more than 100 respondents took the opportunity to let loose with gusto and honesty.
‘Big campaigns on little resources’ and ‘unclear business objectives’ topped the list of grievances, with 14% and 13% of marketers picking them in their top three respectively.
And yet the basic marketing skillsets are in place it would seem; lowest of the lot with 3% was ‘training and development’.
Other answers tracking highly were ‘struggling to track ROI’, ‘creating impactful content’, ‘low lead quality/quantity’, and ‘limited budget’.
When asked for their own thoughts, many seemed disillusioned about the whole concept of marketing, pointing to a ‘lack of plain English [and] sensible language’ and ‘The general assumption that everyone can do marketing’.
Indeed, it was this image of marketing that was a bugbear for a lot of respondents.
It has a ‘lack of credibility as a strategic function’, while, more worryingly, one concluded: ‘So many departments that aren’t related to marketing think they know how to do marketing.’
There was, at least, a little ire saved for client competence, with too many focusing on: ‘KPIs [that] actually don’t mean anything.’
Define marketing in 3, 2, 1…
It doesn’t help that defining marketing in the first place is difficult, while there are an eye-watering number of roles which fall under the umbrella of marketing.
In this survey alone, there were Directors, Marketing Directors and Account Directors; CCOs, CMOs and CEOs; Communication Consultants and Marketing Consultants.
Likewise, the breadth of skillsets on show spanned strategy (65% put this in their top 3), copywriting (35%), budget control (28%), identifying trends (28%) and talent spotting (24%).
This disparate set of abilities and strengths underlines why so many people are looking for guidance and seem in a state of exasperation, especially given the enforced siloed nature of work during the pandemic.
Can you help?
In this survey, the same marketers were asked to reach out for help or advice on any part of their role.
Interestingly these topics seemed to be global: Participants came from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, US, Canada, Morocco and Iran.
The responses were divided into four distinct categories: Dealing with reality, New ways of thinking, First impressions and Needing information.
What followed was a real smorgasbord of insight, with nearly all touchpoints across marketing mentioned.
Mastering – or at least justifying – social media and its associated spend was brought up by a number of participants, along with the conjoined notions of how to work better across departments and increasing productivity.
Questions surrounding technology or automation did not appear in an industry where digitalisation is key, although several focused on discovering new channels and discovering digital talent.
The age-old issues of attracting new clients, sharing ideal strategies and driving more conversions were present, but not prevalent; explicit and exact knowledge is seemingly needed.
Changes to privacy policies, simplifying Google Ads, segmenting audiences, and CRM set-ups all featured.
To see all the results, download ‘The trouble with marketing is…’