Marketing has never been more integrated within the business, and never more challenging to execute. As customers demand more and businesses look to run lean and mean, it’s harder than ever to get it all done.
That doesn’t mean marketing executives are backing down. Instead, they’re looking for solutions and charging ahead, driving a loyal customer base by thinking outside of the box, and even taking it back to the basics.
Staying Compliant in Highly Regulated Industries
Overcome it: Provide compliant materials
The healthcare industry is just one of many that’s highly regulated when it comes to marketing. This presents a challenge at the highest level, as executives ask themselves, “How do we promote our brand and stay within the bounds of what we’re allowed to do?”
For an organization like HealthMarkets, one of the largest independent health insurance agencies in the United States, with 3,000 independent agents across the country, there’s another challenge: finding consistency organization-wide while following proper verbiage, staying up-to-date with privacy requirements and so much more.
The CMO of HealthMarkets, Michael Z. Stahl, found a solution: make marketing compliance and brand consistency foolproof. He explains:
“We provide our agents with ready-to-use marketing materials that have already been reviewed and approved by Compliance to ensure there is no issue. This not only provides a consistent message and branding for consumers but also saves the agents time and allows them to focus on what they do best—assisting their customers.”
These materials pre-approved for billboards, TV ads, flyers and postcards, all of which can be personalized for their local use. Agents are even provided with approved weekly Facebook posts and programs that review online responses to ensure compliance across the board.
To overcome this marketing challenge, Stahl knows the organization needs to stay on top of regulations from the top-down, and provide assistance on a consistent basis. He explains, “We also provide our agents with on-going training on regulations and requirements as well as sales techniques and best practices.” All of this comes together to benefit the entire company, from the executives to the agents, creating a fully compliant marketing program that everyone can rely on.
Finding Top Talent
Overcome it: In-house training
Many industries are experiencing talent shortages in recent years: 45 percent of organizations globally are struggling to find talent and fill open positions, according to the 2018 Talent Shortage Survey.
Jesse Marble, Chief Marketing Officer of Magneti, confirms that both finding and also training top talent is a significant challenge for marketing executives right now. The challenge is that organizations need marketers with a range of skills, from knowledge of social media to direct marketing techniques that still drive revenue, which has become difficult to find.
Marble says, “The best marketers have breadth across a lot of disciplines, plus depth in a few select specialties: what we call a ‘T-shaped’ marketer.”
This type of marketer is becoming hard to win over, says Marble. He explains, “As the economy stays strong, competing for top talent remains tough.” So how are they working to overcome this challenge at Magneti and in other marketing organizations? “Ramping up internal training programs is a clear solution that a lot of leaders are investing in right now." Investing in current talent not only allows you to avoid this challenge, but likely saves on recruiting costs as well—a win-win for everyone.
Overcome it: Back to basics organic marketing
Despite the technology and learnings we have at our fingertips, it’s the basics that businesses still struggle with. Paul Ronto, Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Digital Content and Research for RunRepeat explains:
“Even in a world where there are dozens of channels and direct routes to your customer, it's becoming harder and harder to be noticed. There's a lot of noise, and a lot of competition for attention, so although today's tools make it easier to single out your niche audience, it's becoming increasingly difficult to be heard.”
Not only is it harder to be heard, but it’s expensive. Ronto has seen this as everyone is “jumping in on inbound ads, social marketing, and display advertising,” from worldwide organized to mom and pop shops.
What’s more, this is coupled with a burning desire for customers to do their research and find the best price. So what do you do when boosted posts, PPC and other paid ads just aren’t cutting through the clutter? Turn to the basics: organic, value-add content marketing.
“What we see as the real solution is going back to creating content that answers questions. With voice search growing, the way people query has changed as well and the past reliance on keyword driven results is slowing starting to update.”
But that doesn’t mean writing 300-word blog posts, five times a week, just to create content. It’s about making that content valuable. “In a world filled with thin, crappy content aiming to bait you into clicking, long-form, data-based information is going to reign supreme.”
Developing Great Content
Overcome it: Invest a robust marketing strategy
For Ronto, great content is the solution to a problem. For many businesses, creating that content is the challenge. With a focus on long-term results, it’s harder to sell organic content marketing to other decision makers within the business, as opposed to PPC, which delivers quick, clear and actionable value.
However, Brian Gill, CEO of Gillware Data Recovery, and his team have found this investment to be one of their best ones yet. Gill explains, “One of our biggest challenges has been content marketing. But we’ve also seen tremendous results from the robust content marketing strategy we implemented for our blog. Myself, along with a team of writers that I manage, provide well-researched and thought out blog posts that our audience finds valuable.”
What’s more, they don’t simply create content based on assumptions and hunches. Gill says, “We stay on top of trending news and try to answer questions that our readers might have. We go into great detail to provide as much information as possible.” This allows them to maintain a “comprehensive guide” for their customers about data recovery and digital forensics—and all the complexities that comes with sharing insights on those topics.
While that may not seem like a challenge, Gill points out the bottom line: Not only does this take money to execute properly, but a lot of time and the much-needed resources, from writers and editors to researchers, SEO specialists and marketers.
For GIll and his team, it’s about more than just driving customers. These efforts, along with thought leadership pieces they create for other publishers within the industry, allow them to achieve one important goal: “establish a voice in your industry is important for anyone who wants to continue to grow and expand. We try to become an authority that others trust and look up to."