Managing an organization’s identity—establishing who they are, what they do, and building a reputation—can be challenging for any brand marketer at a large organization. The growing demand for multi-channel communications has driven a new range of marketing activities that require a great deal of time and expertise. And marketing efforts carry a great deal of nuance for each geography and environment, and cannot necessarily be standardized across the board for every location.
While a few years ago brand marketers’ biggest challenges were related to supporting organizational revenue growth, an upward economy has shifted the focus to improving productivity, efficiency and processes. According to a recent study from Gleanster, the top brand marketing challenges for enterprise brands in 2015 are: operational efficiency/cost savings, embracing digital channels, and visibility into marketing performance.
Let’s take a closer look at all three as well as processes that can be put into place to help improve overall brand marketing.
Operational Efficiency/Cost Savings
Enterprise marketing efforts are complex and increasingly clunky with growing demand for content across online and offline channels to address current consumer behavior. Building the right infrastructure to support multi-channel marketing has proven to be difficult, but also a high priority for today’s marketers who are putting more resources into solving this challenge than ever before. Another efficiency challenge is related to corporate marketing’s efforts to “lock down” the brand standards and try to manage every single brand communication on the local level. This can often lead to a bottleneck at the corporate level, where the marketing team is attempting to control every brand application for each local office.
Embracing Digital Channels
While most of the surveyed CMOs (nearly 90%) leverage web, mobile and social in their marketing plans, few of them have sufficient support for these channels. Content is being created for offline materials, but isn’t transferable to the digital applications. However, separating teams to tackle these channels individually isn’t necessarily the way to go, as this could lead to more fragmented communications. As noted in CMI’s article about the state of content marketing in 2015, “We must realize that there is no way that we can (or will) scale to every channel. The only way to scale is to adapt the marketing department’s structure and purpose around the creation, management, and ultimate flow of information…”
Visibility into Marketing Performance
Currently, CMOs have limited visibility into marketing performance due in part to the fact that brand marketers are tackling more communication channels than ever, and the result tends to be countless disconnected processes and technologies. Reporting and analytics are crucial to understand where budget and time should be allocated, and to justify these marketing activities. Importantly, achieving the ideal customer experience where communications are personalized and timely means implementing a more efficient, measurable, and streamlined approach.
According to Gleanster CEO Ian Michiels, the results of the company’s study about common marketing challenges also allow us to uncover some universal solutions to make these obstacles more manageable for enterprise brand marketers. Though tasks like copy and content creation are hard to standardize, other processes like workflow management, reporting, marketing plans, and brand consistency management are more constant. Implementing a system to standardize these processes will not only lead to time saved, but also allow for more insight into marketing activities. However, while standardization is helpful for efficiency and oversight, it is also important to find a balance that will ensure local marketers will continue to follow the process dictated by corporate. Corporate marketing departments that too tightly manage all of their locations’ marketing efforts may cause these teams to go rogue, which risks brand consistency and visibility. It is a good idea to implement technology tools that allow corporate marketing to manage compliant “templates” and then allow the marketers on the local level to choose the tools that make the most sense for them.
In an age when marketing activities are continuing to expand, leveraging technology to help standardize and streamline processes will be key to successfully managing brand identity across the enterprise.