By Eric Dickmann

April 21, 2023

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business, but it can be challenging to get it right. It is an essential factor for the success of any business, regardless of its size. It can help build brand awareness, increase sales, and drive customer loyalty. A strong marketing strategy is critical to creating a successful business that stands out from the competition.

A marketing strategy encompasses many activities, such as advertising, public relations, promotions, social media management, and more. These activities must be carefully planned and coordinated to ensure your message reaches the right people. Many potential pitfalls can hold your marketing efforts back from targeting the right audience to creating compelling content.

In this article, we'll explore seven common marketing problems and offer solutions to help you take your business to the next level.

1. A Lack of Clear Goals and Objectives

One of the most common marketing challenges is a lack of clear goals and objectives. Without a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, it isn't easy to create a marketing strategy that will be effective. Start by defining your business goals and then work backward to determine what marketing tactics will help you achieve those goals. Ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will help you stay focused and track your progress over time.

The Importance of a Strategic Marketing Plan

It's no secret that having a strategic marketing plan is essential for any business to succeed. A strategic marketing plan serves as the backbone of all marketing activities, ensuring that businesses take the proper steps to reach their desired goals. Several key components of a successful strategic marketing plan include defining objectives and goals, choosing target markets and audiences, creating an effective messaging strategy, and selecting the proper marketing channels. A strategy must also be constantly reviewed and updated to remain relevant and successful.

The Value of a Fractional CMO

It can be difficult for many businesses to build an effective marketing strategy without an experienced marketing leader. Hiring a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a cost-effective option for companies looking to improve their marketing strategy without the cost of a full-time hire. A fractional CMO offers the same expertise and experience as a full-time CMO but on an as-needed basis. This allows companies to benefit from the guidance of an experienced professional without the need to pay for a full-time, salaried employee. With years of experience helping companies across industries, a fractional CMO engagement can be a cost-effective way to get the seasoned expertise your company needs to build and implement an effective marketing strategy.

Not All Businesses Have a Chief Marketing Officer

It's important to note in this discussion that not all businesses have the executive role of Chief Marketing Officer. This is especially true of small and midsize companies. In those firms, they might have a VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing or even a Marketing Manager. The title really doesn't matter. The concept of a fractional CMO or CMO on-demand is an experienced marketing manager who can help create a comprehensive strategy and manage its execution.

No matter what title may or may not exist within your organization, if you're looking to grow, chances are you'll find significant value and should contemplate the decision to hire a fractional CMO for your business.

2. Difficultly Generating Leads for Your Business

If you want to increase your customer base and sales, you need a well-thought-out strategy for acquiring new customers. It’s not enough to rely on word-of-mouth or traditional advertising methods anymore; you need to be proactive to get the attention of potential customers and drive more leads to your sales department. Here are some key strategies you can use to acquire new customers:

  • Targeted Advertising – Instead of using a blanket approach to advertising, hone in on the target audience most likely to be interested in your product or service. Use targeted advertising campaigns and platforms such as social media and search engine marketing (SEM) to reach potential customers that are likely to convert.
  • Develop Your Brand – A strong brand identity can help differentiate you from competitors, attract more customers, and drive loyalty. Use a professional branding agency to create visual assets that reflect your brand values and mission.
  • Focus on SEO – Improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts by optimizing content marketing efforts by using relevant keywords and ensuring your website is mobile-friendly. This will help you rank higher in search results for relevant terms and phrases, driving more traffic to your website.
  • Create Compelling Content – Content is critical to an inbound marketing strategy to engage potential customers and drive conversions. Create compelling, high-quality content that provides value to your target audience, such as helpful blog posts, videos, and infographics for use in various digital marketing, inbound, and outbound campaigns.
  • Offer Incentives – Offering incentives such as discounts or freebies can effectively attract new customers and encourage them to purchase from you.
  • Leverage Social Media – Social media channels are a powerful tool for connecting with potential customers, building relationships, and enhancing the business's online presence. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote your content, share offers, and engage with your followers.
  • Utilize Email Marketing – Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach leads and existing customers. Create targeted campaigns and provide relevant content to engage them and drive conversions.

By following these strategies, you can create an effective marketing plan to help you get new customers and grow your business.

3. Inconsistent Messaging and Value Proposition

Inconsistent messaging and branding can confuse your audience and make it difficult for them to understand your business. This can lead to a lack of trust and, ultimately, a decrease in sales. To fix this problem, create a brand style guide that outlines your brand's voice, tone, and visual elements. Ensure everyone on your team is familiar with the guide and consistently applies it to all marketing materials. This will help ensure your messaging and branding are consistent across all channels and touchpoints.

Businesses that lack a strong value proposition and competitive differentiation can suffer from poor customer engagement, low sales, and high customer churn. Without a clear understanding of how the company’s products or services stand out from the competition, customers have no reason to choose one business over another. To fix this marketing problem, businesses must create a value proposition that communicates what they offer and why it is unique and better than the competition. This should include a clear statement of their competitive advantages and give customers a reason to choose them over their competitors. Nebulous differentiators such as customer service and quality are rarely compelling enough to be real differentiators. Creating a solid value proposition means looking at your product or service and understanding how they offer something unique that addresses a customer pain point. Once understood, businesses should promote their value proposition through various marketing channels to reinforce it in the minds of potential customers.

4. Too Many Channels

If you’re struggling to manage your marketing efforts across multiple channels, try focusing on one or two platforms and optimizing them for maximum impact. Identify which channels drive the most traffic and conversions, then focus your resources on those channels first. By paring down the number of channels you’re using, you can create more efficient campaigns that produce better results. Without understanding which channels are best for reaching your target audience, you may miss out on valuable opportunities to engage with potential customers and increase sales.

Understanding who your target audience is is essential before you start creating any strategy. A clear idea of your current or potential customers will help you create more effective marketing campaigns. Once you know the audience, you can research which channels are the most popular and effective for reaching that audience. For example, if your target market is millennials, social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat may be a great way to get their attention. If your focus is on business professionals, LinkedIn is most likely the best platform. To reach your target demographic, you should also look into other digital marketing tactics, such as video content and influencer marketing. Once you've identified the best channels to reach your audience, you can create and launch campaigns accordingly.

5. Poor Targeting to Your Target Audience

One of the biggest marketing problems businesses face is poor targeting and audience segmentation. You're wasting time and money if you're not reaching the right people with your marketing messages. To fix this problem, take the time to understand your target market, target audience and create buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. Use data and analytics to segment your audience based on demographics, behavior, and interests. This will allow you to tailor your messaging and marketing efforts to each segment's specific needs and interests, increasing your campaigns' effectiveness.

Building Your Buyer Persona

A buyer persona represents a typical customer or user of a product or service. It is used by businesses and marketers to help them better understand their target customers' needs, wants, and behavior. Personas are based on research, interviews, surveys, and other methods to gain insights into customer behavior. By understanding the motivations behind customer decisions, companies can develop more effective marketing strategies that speak directly to their target audience.

Understanding Your Target Audience

A target audience is a specific group of people that a business or organization wants to reach through marketing or advertising efforts. Businesses and organizations need to be able to identify and define their target audience to effectively create, implement, and measure the success of any marketing campaign. Identifying the target audience allows companies and brands to tailor their message specifically for them, increasing their marketing campaigns' effectiveness.

Target Markets for B2B Companies

When it comes to marketing for B2B companies, understanding target markets is essential for success. Understanding target markets involves carefully analyzing the needs of potential businesses, their buying preferences, and what messages will resonate with them. It also requires knowledge of industry trends and an understanding of the competition. Once the target market is identified, companies can create more effective B2B marketing campaigns that speak directly to the specific businesses that are the best potential fit for the products and services being offered.

Creating an Ideal Customer Profile

An ideal customer profile is an essential tool for any business. It helps define your target market and provides insights into what they need, want, and expect from your company. An ideal customer profile (ICP) can also be used to improve marketing strategies and optimize the customer experience.

An ideal customer profile typically includes demographic information (age, gender, location, income), lifestyle and behavior patterns, and psychographic information (values, interests, and beliefs). By understanding your ideal customer profile, you can create campaigns that are better aligned with the needs of your target audience.

6. Ineffective Use of Metrics and Analytics

Another common marketing problem is the ineffective use of data and analytics. Many businesses collect data but don't know how to use it to improve their marketing efforts. To fix this problem, identify the key metrics that matter to your business and set up tracking and reporting systems to monitor trends. Use this data to inform your marketing decisions and optimize your campaigns for better results. Invest in tools and resources that can help you analyze and interpret your data, such as Google Analytics or marketing automation software.

Without analyzing data from your past campaigns, it's impossible to understand what has been working and what needs improvement. To fix this problem, track key metrics such as website visits, clicks, leads generated, and sales made over time. This will allow you to identify customer behavior patterns and adjust your current strategy accordingly. Additionally, use A/B testing to compare different versions of content or ads to see which performs better with customers. By leveraging data-driven insights into customer behavior and preferences, businesses can optimize their marketing efforts for maximum success.

What are Some Important Marketing Metrics to Measure?

A challenge for marketers is understanding marketing metrics and incorporating them as an essential tool for measuring success and evaluating the effectiveness of your overall marketing goals. By tracking key performance indicators, you can better understand what’s working and what needs to be improved upon. It's also the best way to spot new marketing trends. Some of the most important metrics to measure include:

  • Reach – Reach is how many people have seen your marketing efforts, whether in the form of ads, social media posts, or website visits.
  • Engagement – Engagement measures how well your audience interacts with your content and how likely they are to take action. Examples of engagement metrics include likes, shares, comments, and click-throughs.
  • Conversion Rate – The conversion rate is the number of visitors who take a desired action (such as making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter) divided by the total number of visitors.
  • Revenue – Revenue is how much money you’ve made from your marketing efforts, which can be tracked through sales or leads generated.
  • Cost Per Acquisition – Cost per acquisition (CPA) is how much it costs to acquire one customer or lead through your campaigns. Knowing this metric can help you optimize your campaigns for better ROI.
  • Return on Investment – Return on investment (ROI) is the ratio of profits to costs, which can help you measure the success of your marketing efforts.
  • Customer Lifetime Value – Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the total value of a customer over their entire relationship with your business. Tracking this metric can help you understand how much money your customers spend over time.

By tracking and analyzing these key marketing metrics, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This data can then inform their marketing decisions and optimize campaigns for maximum success.

7. Limited Budget and Lack of Resources

Limited marketing budgets and resources can be a significant obstacle for many businesses when it comes to marketing. However, there are ways to work around this problem. One solution is to focus on low-cost or free marketing tactics, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Another option is to prioritize your marketing efforts based on the channels and tactics that are most effective for your business. Finally, consider outsourcing specific marketing tasks to freelancers or agencies to help you maximize your resources and get the most out of your budget.

Inadequate Budgeting

Many businesses fail to allocate an adequate budget for their marketing efforts, resulting in lackluster results. You need to allocate enough resources to ensure your marketing strategy is successful. Consider what platforms and channels you want to use and how much money you need to reach your goals in each area. Once you clearly understand the necessary investments, you can determine the budget that will best support your strategy. Marketing is an expense, but it's also the engine that drives growth. Failing to invest in marketing programs is a surefire way to ensure lackluster revenue growth in your business.

Lack of Specialized Marketing Skills

When it comes to marketing, having a specialized team of professionals with the right skills and knowledge is essential for success. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle with a lack of specialized marketing skills in their marketing department. Without the right expertise, your marketing efforts can quickly become ineffective and inefficient, leading to missed opportunities and wasted resources.

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ to address this issue. First, you can look for external resources, such as marketing specialists who work as freelancers, marketing agencies, and fractional CMOs to supplement your existing marketing team. You can also invest in training and development to build up your internal team’s skills and knowledge. Finally, consider investing in marketing automation tools that can help eliminate manual processes and free up your team’s time.

Outsource Your Marketing?

Many of the biggest marketing challenges can be resolved by engaging the right resources, and that doesn't always mean hiring new marketing employees. As a business owner or marketing leader, outsourcing parts of your marketing plan can effectively improve your overall strategy and solve a range of problems. By bringing in outside marketing experts, you can benefit from their specialized skills and expertise, freeing up your team to focus on core business activities. Additionally, outsourcing can save time and money and provide access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable, and you can hire them on a part-time or fractional basis.

When considering a marketing outsourcing partner, look for experienced marketers with a proven track record of success. Ask for references and case studies to learn more about their work and capabilities. Finally, establish clear expectations and make sure you have a good understanding of the terms and conditions of your agreement.


Solving marketing challenges and executing successful marketing programs requires the right strategy, skills, and budget. While limited resources can be a significant obstacle for many businesses, there are solutions. By prioritizing your marketing efforts and allocating enough budget to support them, you can create an effective marketing plan to help you reach your goals. Additionally, outsourcing specific marketing tasks can provide access to specialized skills and expertise while freeing up valuable time for your internal team. With the right strategy, you can fix marketing problems and ensure that your business is well-positioned for success.

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Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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