For one, there were enormous strides in AI that resulted in massive shifts across the marketing industry. (Many marketers compare AI innovations to the Industrial Revolution. No big deal or anything.)
Google’s new search ranking factors have caused a massive shift in the way content is ranked on search engines.
Social media has also changed the way consumers shop. Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X actually prefer to find products on social media.
It’s important to take a step back and think about the challenges that marketers faced in 2018.
Facilitating strong sales and marketing alignment
A strong sales and marketing alignment is essential for any successful company. It isn’t easy to ensure that these two teams are working together effectively.
One-third of marketers (35%) say that a lack of effective communication between marketing and sales is the biggest challenge they face.
In larger companies, many sales and marketing teams are separated. It can be challenging to bridge the gap between two groups, particularly if they have different priorities or are unclear about their shared goals.
The two teams may also implement different data and analytics processes. This makes it difficult to share data consistently and get insights that can help sales and marketing identify what’s working.
Alignment is crucial to the success of your business in 2024. Organizations that have aligned their sales and marketing teams experience 27% higher profit growth and 36% greater customer retention.
In order to explore ways in which you can improve your sales and marketing alignment, I spoke with Monica Elgemark, Chief Marketing Officer of Oneflow.
She said, “To tackle this challenge, both the sales and marketing teams must have clear goals and objectives.” To help both marketing and sales understand the value of different campaigns, it is important to have clear goals and objectives. There is a mutual dependence between these two areas, which must be respected.
Elgemark stresses the importance of clear communication between teams. Meetings and collaboration tools can be helpful, but they are only tools. Your team must foster a collaborative culture to facilitate alignment truly.
The data also plays a crucial role. Elgemark says, “Sharing analytics and data is an important aspect of this alignment process.” Implementing a CRM system that is accessible to both teams allows the exchange of valuable customer data. These data are not only used to inform marketing strategies but also help sales teams better understand and engage with prospects.”
Elgemark also encourages marketers who are looking for feedback to ask the sales team. Your sales team can help you determine the quality of your leads and their readiness. This will allow you to focus on marketing activities that generate the most revenue.
Hire Top Talent
Your marketing team’s strength is determined by the people you hire.
It’s not only one of the key components of a successful marketing team but also one of its most difficult aspects.
When it comes to hiring, 35 percent of marketers say that finding candidates with the appropriate skillset poses their biggest challenge.
Hiring in 2023 will be a major challenge. One of the biggest challenges in 2023 was hiring.
Many employees are also shifting their priorities, and they now look for companies that have a strong work-life culture and balance. Many employees also prefer remote or hybrid working. If you don’t offer these benefits to your employees, it will be harder for you to attract the best talent.
In 2024, these challenges will continue infiltrating hiring and retention.
HubSpot Senior Recruiter Kaleigh Hoffman told iA 2024 that a partnership between hiring managers and the talent acquisition team was critical to attracting top talent.
She says: “A recruiter’s best email or InMail is never as flattering as direct outreach from a manager. If you’re willing to write a personal note, it goes a very long way. In a world where AI makes it easy to create anything, a personalized message can be the difference between someone responding and not. You should always include the reason that you are interested in a candidate’s profile.
Hoffman says that specific job descriptions with clear attributes will set you apart from other job descriptions in the market. These might be more general.
Remember that selling and recruiting are similar. Hoffman says, “If you’re speaking with a candidate who is a good fit, asking them specifically what they want in their next job can help you close the deal in future conversations.” In final interviews, reminding candidates about their motivations — be it benefits, flexibility, or anything else — will help you seal the deal.
Hoffman says that it’s important not to get discouraged when a candidate declines a position. Ask the candidate about other people in their network who they believe would be good for the job.
Hoffman says, “Recruiting requires a long-term approach.” By checking in periodically, you can build a pipeline with super-talented applicants for 2024 and beyond.
Understanding the social issues that your audience cares about
The consumer wants brands to be more socially responsible. In fact, 45% of people believe that brands should do more to promote social justice issues.
Brands that take a stand on social issues are more likely to connect with their customers and prospects. People are more likely to purchase from brands that care about issues that are important to them.
Consider Warby Parker. Warby Parker has been my go-to for sunglasses for many years. I’m not going anywhere else. Why? Why?
It’s a Challenge
About a third (28%) say that their greatest challenge is the lack of information about social causes to which their target audience is committed (e.g., environmentalism, racial justice).
It can be hard to determine which social causes are most important to your audience. This information is more nuanced than age, gender, or location.
You also want your cause to be in line with the values of your brand. Your audience may be passionate about climate change, but this cause may not fit with the personality of your brand. Social issues must make sense to your business in order to connect authentically with your audience.
What you can do
To better understand your clients, you’ll need to do thorough research. This includes finding out what they really value.
Surveys are a great way to have these deeper conversations with your Buyer Persona to understand their needs better. People are not always comfortable discussing the issues that are most important to them, as they can be very personal.
In such cases, using social listening tools could be an excellent first step to gaining insights into social issues that your audience is most likely to discuss on social media.
HubSpot Manager of Community Strategy & Operations Jenny Sowyrda said, “My number-one tip to understand what your community values it to Listen to the community.” You can learn what your community cares about by listening to them. This includes everything from clicking on links in emails to sharing social posts.
Sowyrda continues, “You should also actively listen to your community members by connecting directly with them. Build trust by having individual conversations with members. This includes the loudest as well as the quietest people in the room. You can add value to your community by combining your knowledge of its members with your expertise.
After determining what values your community holds, you will want to determine which social issues are similar to your brand. Here, authenticity is important. So is action. You might consider, for example, partnering with an organization that supports the same social issue as you to demonstrate your willingness to follow through. It’s also important to make sure that the social cause is one your brand can support.
Patagonia’s brand is an excellent example. Patagonia is a great example. Their brand stresses the importance of sustainability. It works because the social issue aligns well with the brand values and also the target audience, which are active, outdoorsy people.