Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the big marketing challenge (and opportunity) in 2023. If you’re still recovering from this shock to the system, keep in mind that more changes are coming in the new year.
Here are our top four challenges businesses will likely face in 2024.
1. Aligning Marketing and Sales
While marketing and sales teams have a long history of battling, the issue is becoming worse as more — and different — types of technology are being introduced in each field. However, alignment between them is critical for organizational success. And yet, it's almost difficult for most businesses to get these two groups to work effectively together.
Many sales and marketing teams work in silos. Bridging the gap between them, especially when they have different priorities and goals and communication styles, can be difficult.
In addition, the two groups often leverage separate data and analytics processes and systems, making it hard to share data consistently and come up with insights that help marketing and sales come to a common view of what's working and what isn’t.
The solution to this issue requires coming up with clear goals and objectives that both sales and marketing teams can support. You must also encourage and facilitate transparent communication between the groups. Regular meetings and collaboration tools can support this. Mutual feedback shared in a safe environment can help marketers and salespeople get through rough patches.
Data plays a central role, as well; sharing data and analytics is a vital part of the alignment process. Implementing a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system accessible to both teams, allows for the exchange and review of critical customer data and alignment on progress toward joint goals.
2. Finding Top Talent
The quality of your marketing is dependent on the talent that develops it. This is particularly true for small businesses with limited resources.
2023 saw some significant challenges when hiring talent, whether employees, freelancers, or agencies. There is record demand for skilled workers, which has resulted in higher wages and increased competition to find the right resources at an affordable cost.
These challenges will continue into 2024.
Set priorities about the type of talent you need to hire as permanent employees. For instance, if social media is critical to your organization, it probably makes sense to invest whatever it takes to hire a top-tier social media manager. The commitment, even at a relatively high cost, is likely worth it over the long term.
For less critical positions, it probably makes sense to outsource to freelancers and agencies. It’s relatively easy to explore your options online, and even in these challenging times for hiring, hungry agencies and freelancers still want more work.
3. Understanding the Social Issues the People You’re Targeting Care About
Consumers today prefer to do business with companies that support the causes they care about. Brands that take a clear stance on social issues consumers care about have an easier time connecting with them.
Even though connecting over causes is critical for consumers, it can be complicated for business owners and marketers to understand which social causes they care about, whether it’s the environment, racial justice, poverty, or others. It’s also a big concern to choose a cause that doesn’t alienate a significant part of their consumer base — or potentially cause a stir leading to bad publicity. Plus, it’s not good enough to choose something because it’s suitable for your consumer base. It must also align with your brand values.
Like many marketing conundrums, the key to selecting the right cause to support lies in market research. You'll want to conduct thorough research to understand your customers and what they value most. Leverage a survey to get raw data about this. Do some social listening to find out more. Move on to focus groups and conversations with your customers to gain deeper insights. These three tactics will give you the information you need to select a cause you and your customers can align on.
4. Developing Content That Generates Leads
Generating leads is critical for marketers in this digital age. That’s why it’s such a big issue for businesses to create content that connects with consumers and encourages them to become leads.
Developing quality content is critical, but it also must contribute to the business's bottom line. Content can help build affinity to your brand, but it’s useless if it doesn’t generate leads.
Start developing content with your end goal in mind. If you want someone to become a lead, make your product and service descriptions so irresistible people will be compelled to share their contact information to learn more. If you want to earn an ebook download (a popular form of lead generation), hint at its exclusivity and value with a strong design and brief pitch that hints at what’s inside.
2024 Challenges: The Bottom Line
No one could have seen the challenge AI would present in 2023 as the year began. 2024 will feature its share of challenges, too (as well as opportunities). Anticipating what’s to come and readying your business for these challenges will secure your footing this new year and beyond.