Marketing’s a fun field. It really is. That’s why I’ve been able to do it for so long. You get to exercise your creativity, play around with new technologies, and write—which I love doing—all the time.
But it isn’t all fun and games. The truth is, there are a number of challenges and obstacles that make even a die-hard marketing lover like me curse having to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, these are especially difficult tasks that prohibit you from easy completion. Sometimes, they’re setbacks and unpleasant surprises that compromise or interfere with your efforts. In any case, they can ruin an otherwise perfectly good day if you’re not ready for them.
Over the years, I’ve developed what I think are some good strategies for dealing with these unpleasant scenarios—and I’m about to share some of my most important ones with you now.
Getting the Budget You Need
Okay, in a perfect world, marketing can be done for free. You can write a bunch of your own content, promote it across free social media channels, and even work with media companies to increase your offsite exposure. But the reality is, without some kind of budget, you aren’t going to get very far. You may not have to pay for advertising directly anymore, but you’ll still have to pay people (employees, contractors, firms, etc.) for their time, and you’ll need to pay for the tools that allow you to manage your campaigns. Coming up with the budget—when you’re a small business, especially—is hard.
My solution for this is making the most of what you have. Prioritize a set budget as a necessity for your business—a bare minimum to keep the lights on—then use that budget only in the most efficient way possible.
Doing the Research
Doing research is also hard. Yes, it’s tedious and kind of a pain in the ass, but the real challenge here is being able to walk away with actionable conclusions. For example, you might dig deep into the psychology of your target demographics, but what is that data actually suggesting you do in your campaign? You might see a competitor who’s struggling to maintain an audience, but what does that really tell you about your own marketing efforts?
The best thing I can tell you here is to keep your expectations and your vision as high-level as possible. Think of it like pixel art; if you get too close, all you’ll see is random splotches of color. You need to be some distance away to see the full picture they form.
Trying to Be Different
One of the best shortcuts in marketing is brand differentiation—when you stand apart from the crowd, you’ll naturally have less competition, and you’ll be able to cater to your users in a more targeted, valuable way. But achieving that level of differentiation is hard, especially when you’re garnering insights from your competition directly and you’re influenced (whether you like it or not) by all the advertising and marketing you see on a daily basis.
My solution here is to consider yourself first. Your personal brand should be an extension of the corporate brand, and because you’re already unique, your voice will lend originality to everything you touch. Beyond that, it’s a simple matter of scrapping anything that’s been done before.
Finding Good Help
It’s definitely hard to find good help these days—or is it? We now live in a world where everybody’s connected to everybody. When starting a marketing campaign, you have your pick from employees to contractors to agencies, giving you thousands of options of different experience levels and price points. The sheer amount of choices you have can be paralyzing, because you don’t want to make the right decision.
You’ll need to do your research here, but once you gather up enough information to give you a reasonable idea of a candidate’s qualifications, trust your gut. Remember, you can always back out of a contract and find another option if your first one doesn’t work out.
Finding the Right Tools
Again, we have trouble with choice here. Run a quick Google search for “marketing tools” and you’ll generate a list of thousands of different options, including dashboards, syndication tools, automation software, and analytics platforms. All of them claim to be the best in some way, and many of them do dominate their respective niches. However, all of these platforms cost money and subscribing to too many of them can make your campaign less manageable (rather than more manageable).
My advice to you is to consolidate as much as possible. Yes, different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses, but in my experience, one platform that does many things decently is far easier to manage than a dozen platforms that each do one thing well.
Your return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important indicators of your campaign’s success. It tells you exactly how much revenue you’ve received in comparison to the amount of money (or time) you’ve spent to achieve it. It’s pretty simple in theory, but boy is it a pain in the ass to actually calculate. You’ll need to rely on multiple different tools and make abstract calculations, relying on estimates to fill in the gaps.
My solution here is to stop taking ROI so seriously. Yes, it’s an important metric, but honestly, you can get away with an estimate here. By looking at results like traffic and conversions alone, you’ll be able to ballpark the performance of your campaign; there’s no need to stress yourself out with the minutiae.
When it comes to marketing challenges, you do have a few options. You could build a team of marketers strong enough to help you overcome those challenges, outsource the work to contractors, or you could work with a professional firm to ease the burden on you. If you’re interested in learning more about what dopplepop can do for your brand, reach out to us—we’ll be able to point you in the right direction.