5 Marketing Challenges You’ll Face in 2021 (and How to Tackle Them) 

by Katy French

While 2020 taught us a lot, we’re looking toward the new year and thinking about ways to improve our marketing—and help our partners improve too. As the latest data from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report shows, the pandemic introduced a number of challenges to marketers this year, many of which will persist in the new year. (In some cases, they may get even worse.)

That may be discouraging, but we don’t believe these challenges are insurmountable. No matter what industry you’re in, what product/service you provide, or how limited your resources are, these problems are simply a call to work smarter and get more creative. Luckily, we can show you how. 

How to Overcome the Top 5 Marketing Challenges 

Here, we’re giving you our best tips, tricks, and tools to address the top five problems marketers face, specifically:

  1. Content Creation
  2. Strategy
  3. Content Distribution
  4. Content Measurement
  5. Cost-Cutting

Whether you’re dealing with strategy issues or your production pipeline, we hope this helps you better navigate your marketing in 2021 and beyond.

1) Content Creation Challenges

Creating consistent, quality content is difficult for any content operation, especially if you don’t have a sophisticated content infrastructure in place. Even if you don’t have the time, resources, or know-how, you can still improve the way you work and ensure you’re creating great, engaging content. How do you do that? 

You can also take content creation off your plate by using more user-generated content. Here are 11 ideas to solicit content from your followers.

2) Strategy Issues 

A strong strategy is the secret to successful marketing. But, according to the CMI report, 57% of content marketers don’t have a documented content strategy. Then again, having a strategy doesn’t mean it will actually work for you. In our own clients, we’ve seen plenty of strategies that don’t align with a brand’s business goal. (When their content doesn’t work, they’re shocked—we’re not.) 

That said, even if you have a strong strategy aligned to your goals, you can still face unexpected issues that throw things off course quickly (hi, pandemic!). How do you make sure you have a strategy that benefits your brand and helps you navigate whatever comes your way?

  • Make it comprehensive. A good strategy provides a solid framework for you to create content but is flexible enough to adapt to the unexpected. Follow our guide to create a content strategy, and use this content strategy checklist to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.
  • Tell the right stories. If you want a strategy that works, you need to give people the content they need or want. To make sure you’re sending the right messages at the right time, map your buyer’s journey and build those messages into your strategy.

Remember: When it comes to strategy, you should always work smarter, not harder. To make your life easier, bookmark these 50 tools to help you build and execute an effective content strategy

3) Content Distribution Challenges

No matter how good your content is, if it’s not getting in front of people (the right people), it probably isn’t doing its job. Even if you don’t have a ton of support in the form of a fully staffed PR team, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure people see and share your content. 

Of course, it’s tough to promote things that no one’s interested in. To make sure you have an interesting, relevant content idea, ask yourself these questions

4) Content Measurement Challenges 

The better you can measure your content marketing efforts, the more insight you’ll get, and the more you can improve what you’re doing. That said, it can be overwhelming to figure out exactly what you should be measuring. (You can easily get lost down the Google Analytics rabbit hole for days.) How do you make sure you’re on the right track? 

  • Double check your tools. Luckily, you have access to more data than ever, but you need to make sure your core measurement infrastructure is set up and working correctly. (There’s nothing more frustrating than incorrect data.) 
  • Choose the right metrics. Our motto is “only measure what matters.” Follow our guides to choose the right metrics for your content strategy, including your social metrics.
  • Measure campaigns correctly. Here are 9 tips to set yourself up for success. 

If you need some fresh eyes to refine your measurement methods, follow these tips to find the right agency for you

5) Cost-Cutting Measures 

Marketers are always having to make the most of what they have, but this is especially challenging if your department has been plagued by layoffs and spending freezes in the wake of the pandemic. 

While this is frustrating, it just means you need to get a little more creative with the tools at hand. 

  • Get more mileage from your content. Find out how a divisible content strategy can help you turn one piece of content into five to extend your reach. 
  • Repurpose existing content. If you aren’t creating much new content, get creative with what you have. Try our tips to repurpose e-books, data visualizations, reports, and other content.
  • Focus on roles vs. job positions. Working with a lean team? You can still do great work. (In fact, sometimes it’s actually easier to get things done because you’re not bogged down in levels of approvals and oversight.) The key is to make sure the right roles are covered—even if one person takes on multiple roles. For more on that, find out what a solid content marketing team should look like (even if there are three of you).

Depending on how your year goes, you may also be able to ask for more budget. Here are 5 ways to make your case and get the funds you need

How to Prepare for Your Best Year Yet

We hope you’re ready to kick off the new year on the right note. Before we go, here are a few more things you can do to get your team set up for success. 

And if you need any help bring your content strategy to life, holler at us. We’re happy to help with anything you need.

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