How Marketers Can Convert Their Obstacles Into Opportunities for 2018

Bates Creative
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Key Takeaways

​What? Bates Creative conducted a survey at the 2017 AMM Annual conference to identify marketers biggest obstacles and where marketers plan on investing their efforts in 2018.

So what? Bates identified that in 2018 marketers will focus on cross-channel optimization and ways to generate traffic and leads.

Now what? Download, "How to Build a Winning Brand, " for key insights on building a strong, sustainable brand.

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Brought to you by: Bates Creative

Type “research” in Google Images and a seemingly endless gallery of magnifying glasses, test tubes and stacks of hefty books goes on and on. But that’s such a narrow interpretation of how different industries utilize research to collect new findings.

As marketers, research is the foundation of our profession. We must be in tune with innovation, evolving audience standards and best practices to retain customer interest by being ahead of the curve.

At the 2017 AMA Annual Conference, Bates Creative conducted a discovery survey to learn a bit more about where marketers are investing their efforts in 2018.

“Many organizations, nonprofit and for-profit alike, have established brand identities that represent their long-standing involvement in their communities or industries,” says Rich Young, Bates Creative’s vice president of business development. “But these traditional values may no longer motivate audiences. Today’s target audiences are motivated by brands that innovate through social responsibility, promote diversity and emulate an overarching, forward-thinking mindset.”

So where are marketers finding success? And what obstacles are they facing? Bates Creative’s survey findings address these questions by turning critical questions into impactful insights that can help marketers get their brands in the best shape for 2018.

The Greatest Opportunity for Marketers in 2018 Is Cross-channel Optimization

Cross-channel optimization is emerging from the “nice to have” mindset to a mandatory key to success. More than one-quarter of marketers at the 2017 AMA Annual Conference see cross-channel marketing as their greatest opportunity in 2018. And because more than 42% of survey respondents believe that their organizations don’t have a consistent customer experience across channels, now is the perfect time transform this obstacle into an opportunity.

In the brand experience economy, it is critical to remember that consistency enhances brand awareness. How does your brand make your audience feel when they read your messaging and engage with your service across all your marketing touch points?

Successful cross-channel optimization drives emotion that influences your target audience to take action. Remember, establishing an authentic narrative will support its visual brand identity, which 58% of respondents say they’re actively investing in to differentiate their brands. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to Build a Winning Brand

The Biggest Obstacle for Marketers in 2018 Is Generating Traffic and Leads

With nearly one-third of the vote, marketers anticipate generating traffic and leads as their biggest marketing obstacle in 2018. However, 79% of respondents say that they are successfully in tune with their target audience’s wants, needs and interests, so where does the difficulty in generating these leads originate?

“These results echo the challenges for many of the organizations who come to Bates Creative,” Young says. “The core obstacle in developing a positive connection with an organization’s target audience is the underlying brand perception of their organization.”

Let’s think about the following insights collected in the survey:

  • Nearly 37% of respondents don’t have a comprehensive style guide.
  • Roughly 37% of marketers say that while they have a brand style guide, it is not properly used.
  • About one-third of marketers say that their organization does not have a concrete brand mission and value statement for all departments to rally behind.
  • Only 67% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization’s current brand identity accurately represents it.

We pose this question: If you don’t know what your organization stands for, how will your target audience be able to understand and support the value of your brand? When your brand can practice what it preaches, your target audience has more confidence in your brand and generating leads becomes more streamlined.

Transforming Your Obstacles Into Opportunities

Your brand must represent everything that you do, not just what you say you do. Breaking this principle leads to “reverse branding,” which means your audience is now in control of defining your brand. While the marketing industry has shifted to a customer-first approach, your brand needs to establish the parameters to help shift your audience’s perspective on compelling customer experiences.

Conducting a discovery session before starting a new branding, digital or print initiative is critical to getting all teams on track. In fact, 64% of respondents agree to seeing the value in an up-front research and discovery process before undertaking a new marketing project.

Whether hosted internally or with the guidance of an external agency, a discovery session evaluates how your audience feels about your brand with a customized research strategy to ultimately place your audience at the center of the experience.

And when nearly one-quarter of marketers from the AMA Annual Conference start mapping out their cross-channel marketing strategies to generate leads, the up-front research methodology phase will accurately guide the collaboration before the creation.

To help fuel your next marketing light bulb moment, download this free branding guide.

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Author Bio:
Bates Creative
<p>Bates Creative is a brand experience and marketing agency in the Washington, D.C. metro that thrives on transforming clients’ challenges into positive, branded results. We believe that immersive customer experiences are fueled by the visual and intellectual nature of designers, developers, marketers and visionaries who believe in the art of an idea. With our branded methodology, Artistic Intelligence, we blur the lines between business-minded logic and thought-provoking design to create meaningful solutions for all clients ranging from big dogs to new ventures.</p>
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