CONFESSION: My readers have lots of issues (and I’m tipping they’re not alone!)

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I recently ran a survey of my readers to try and identify what challenges they were facing … what pressing marketing/PR issues were keeping them awake at night.

And can I say, there’s a lot!

As you’ll see below, while there is a bit of cross-over of topics, you’d have to say there is still a range of challenges that respondents face day to day..

Participants in the survey were split between business owners and/or managers, solo consultants, and/or were in a marketing or PR role  – overall, more than 40 per cent worked in PR or marketing communications.

(Given it was a cross-section of readers polled, there’s every chance you might fit into one or more of these categories. Do any of these challenges resonate with you?).

I asked survey participants a series of questions but the key one was this:

What are the specific challenges you face as a business in communicating/engaging with your target audience?

Here is the list of challenges survey participants listed, in no particular order (with some comments from the ‘Peanut Gallery’ i.e. ME!).

I expected more ROI, but got only a couple (although the answer ‘measurement’ probably falls into that bucket); ‘cutting through/standing out’ was probably the most common one-off challenge with six answers that could be attributed to that particular issue, but it hardly constitutes what you’d call a dominant theme (I know this is a huge issue facing my audience, including my clients, so did expect more responses around the fact it’s a noisy world out there – how do we stand out, get noticed and resonate with our audience?).

Feedback Colorful Rounded Squares

Do any of these challenges resonate with what you’re experiencing?

  • Client not listening to employees
  • Distribution <— am tipping this is to do with content distribution
  • Partner buy in <— agency partner? Not buying into social media and content marketing side of things?
  • That my niche may be too niche!
  • Lack of strategic thinking within organisations
  • Overcoming rational barriers to travel
  • Insight <— am tipping this means not a lot of insights available to make informed decisions?
  • Cut through – so much noise <— agree 100 per cent!
  • Audience is overwhelmed with information from a multitude of sources <— see above!
  • Finding customers
  • Conservative culture – lack of understanding/appetite/resources to engage in innovative ideas <— I hear you!
  • Technology clutter; getting heard
  • Hitting the right people
  • Decline of TV as an advertising medium; challenge also include traditional marketers accepting this fact
  • What is the best way to target audiences
  • Input from key stakeholders within our company
  • Online traffic from social media and one blog
  • Buy in from the C-Suite
  • Knowing where to target/engage with them
  • Visibility
  • Budget <— I’m tipping this is lack thereof
  • Finding other consulting businesses to partner with.
  • Lack of understanding of what core business is within organisations by organisational leaders
  • Coordinating with overseas teams to align messaging
  • Engaging content <— as in the creation thereof
  • Keeping up with social media landscape
  • Audience is not interested until they need the information <— this is only going to increase I reckon
  • Convincing them not to DIY <— personally, I think a bit of DIY is a good thing
  • Technology – diverse work environment: not all employees online
  • Rise of multi-screening; makes capturing online attention more difficult, people are no longer captive audiences
  • ROI <— thought there’d be a lot more of this!
  • Creating content on a regular basis that our clients will find interesting <— I’m tipping we’re going to see a lot more of this!
  • Offline engagement
  • Getting people inspired and acting on marketing/comms activities
  • Producing enough of the right content
  • Misunderstanding that a small budget can have a big impact
  • Margins and pricing
  • Not all working off the same page
  • Lack of interesting content ideas <— this might actually be the reality though 🙂
  • Lack of technical knowledge in terms of content publishing
  • Measurement
  • Limited opportunities for media placement
  • Audience has a poor memory
  • Budget – cost cutting environment
  • Conversion
  • An advertising campaign or good offer is no longer enough
  • Sourcing/creating relevant & interesting content is a challenge from resourcing perspective but also a cultural shift for marketeers
  • Social penetration
  • Creating the right ebook for my audience
  • Standing out from the crowd <— expect this situation to get worse, sorry 🙂

A follow-up question was:

What are the specific challenges you face personally, from a professional development perspective? i.e. What do you personally want to get better at? e.g. Blogging? Facebook advertising? Content strategy? Twitter?

Here are some of the responses (N.B. content strategy rises to the pack as a personal challenge, with some seven mentions):

  • Content strategy
  • Content strategy
  • Content curation
  • Google analytics
  • Facebook advertising
  • Project management
  • Understanding new tools
  • Twitter – keeping message brief and relevant
  • Content strategy
  • Social media; busting through the clutter strategically
  • Lead generation is not an issue but what best to do with those leads? Understanding what makes a good quality lead nurture program would be something I’d like to master
  • Blogging
  • Networking/PR
  • Starting a personal blog
  • Time allocation to different task
  • Blogging
  • Content strategy
  • Sales
  • Moving to project by project work
  • Stakeholder management
  • Facebook strategy
  • Handling information overload
  • Content tactical execution
  • Getting noticed
  • Remarketing options in today’s web
  • Content strategy
  • Content strategy with video
  • More recognition for my achievements
  • Proving “bang for buck”
  • Market trends and intelligence (for industries we service)
  • Confidence.
  • CMS/publishing platform skills
  • Google analytics
  • Time management
  • Digital marketing
  • The Big Idea
  • How to influence upwards that the marketing/PR/advertising world has changed
  • Content strategy with audio
  • Content marketing

There were other questions in the survey which I’ll address at a later date, but I think it was worth putting in people’s ‘raw’ feedback to show just how many communication challenges entrepreneurs, business owners and PR and marketing people are currently facing.

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