The 5 Biggest Challenges Facing Enterprise-level Digital Marketers

The 5 Biggest Challenges Facing Enterprise-level Digital Marketers

As digital marketers, we face similar challenges: We’re constantly trying to perfect our strategies and generate the biggest ROI – because, in the end, that’s what keeps our boss (and our clients) happy – right?

However, enterprise-level digital marketers face unique challenges due to their size, budget, expectations and overall marketing goals. But don’t fret! There are solutions that can solve these everyday issues.

What’s happening out there, enterprise marketers?

According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest report, 88% of enterprise-level marketers use content marketing, but only 28% consider their efforts effective.

2017 B2B Enterprise Trends - Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Although the basic principles of digital marketing are similar for organizations of all sizes, this article will look through the lens of an enterprise-level organization and touch on some of the specific challenges large-sized content creators face.

Challenge #1: Obtaining C-Suite Buy-In

As an agency, Vertical Measures talks a lot about executive buy-in. We believe that it’s essential to have the C-suite informed and on board to elicit real results from digital marketing efforts. Digital marketing is a long-term ROI, and if your C-suite of executives don’t understand that, any marketing efforts can be cut before they’re given the opportunity to be effective.

How do you combat lack of C-suite buy-in?

A big part is setting expectations, and this is best done through governance. Before we begin any campaign for any client, we establish governance. And we document it.

Content Marketing Institute defines digital governance as:

“A discipline that focuses on establishing clear accountability for digital strategy, policy, and standards.”

In other words, digital governance gives organizations a way to manage content-related decisions that don’t involve the seat of anyone’s pants. When working with a new client, we always set up a formal governance document that outlines responsibilities and processes. Some questions we ask:


Creating this document allows us to identify bottlenecks in the pipeline and implement changes faster. By establishing governance upfront, we receive a clear understanding on where responsibilities lie, who’s (potentially) holding up implementation, and what part of the process isn’t working. From there, we can continue to improve the governance document until we reach max efficiency.

It’s essential to have the C-suite informed and onboard to elicit real results from #digitalmarketing efforts. Click To Tweet

A surprising number of enterprise-level corporations do not have governance in place. Or, they do, but they have too many people involved in each process. By establishing and simplifying your internal governance, you can implement digital marketing efforts faster and start seeing results.

Challenge #2: Adopting a Team Mentality

Governance does more than just make your marketing implementation more efficient. It also gives ownership to those involved and thus, is a great way to keep your C-suite (among other teams) informed and engaged.

While the executives at your organization may not have the time to edit/review all your content, having them as a final approver may help them feel involved in marketing efforts and more invested in marketing’s success.

Appealing to your peers through a team mentality helps others get on board with your #marketing ideas. Click To Tweet

Having internal content evangelists in your organization will help with the sharing of your content, and maybe even with content creation. We have a few ideas to get everyone on board with your marketing ideas:

  1. Hold brainstorm sessions once a quarter. You’d be surprised at how many awesome ideas your non-marketing peers have!
  2. Ask your peers what content they want. This tactic is amazing for helping with interdepartmental communication and for closing sales. If you aren’t creating content directly for your sales team, now is the time to start.
  3. Ask for peer review or edits. What do your co-workers think of your marketing ideas? Do they think your ideas will be effective?

How do you improve communication across departments?

Enterprise companies, much more than small companies, believe the lack of communication across departments is a major challenge. Author, renowned speaker, and CEO – Nancy Duarte – believes leadership isolation is the biggest factor:


“Communication tends to breakdown when leaders don’t consider the impact the company goals have on the employees. If a leader communicates from a distant perch and they don’t empathetically see what it looks like, through the eyes of the employees, no one will be motivated to take on a change journey.”

Nancy Duarte, Principal/CEO of Duarte, Inc.

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This issue makes sense if you think about the structure of a typical enterprise-level company – departments are often siloed. Or, there are so many individuals per department, it makes it difficult to effectively collaborate on any given marketing task.

As we’ve been saying for years, digital marketing requires close communication among team members:


  • You hold leaders in each department accountable for consistent communication.
  • You meet regularly and discuss your marketing campaigns from a more holistic perspective.
  • You utilize expertise from each department that can benefit marketing strategies as a whole.


  • You risk missing deadlines and creating bottlenecks in the process.
  • You might not implement crucial pieces of the digital marketing puzzle that impact ROI.
  • You are unable to improve strategies and measure successes and failures of each campaign.

By getting your co-workers involved in marketing processes early on, they’ll feel more invested in the work that you do. This will help with implementation, distribution, and hopefully, boost ROI.

Challenge #3: Improving Process Management

Often at enterprise level organizations, the approvals process is extremely convoluted, to the point that it takes months to go from ideation of a simple idea to implementation. Even a simple blog post can spend months in the pipeline, waiting for approval, edits, graphics; by the time it gets to publication, the material may no longer be relevant, or the subject matter may be so saturated that it’s no longer an effective tool for SEO.


“Projects spin out of control because of (no surprise here) a lack of control. Failure to understand the process leads to chaos. A failure to understand why the process is in place leads to a lack of conformity. And a key element of any process is the language that is used. If we control the language, we have a better chance of controlling the culture of our projects.”

Carl Pritchard, Principal/Founder of Pritchard Management Associates

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How do you improve your marketing processes?

  • Define your marketing goals up front: The more goals you have, the more difficult you make it on your team. With so many goals, it’s hard to focus on the ones that will actually make an impact on your business. Start by identifying two to three realistic goals, and measure the successes and failures throughout the campaign. From there, they can be accurately adjusted or optimized.
  • Compile a list of all ongoing marketing projects: At enterprise-level companies, there are a lot of small (and large) marketing projects underway at the same time. Designate a product owner or project manager for even the smallest projects. Ideally, these leaders will organize daily meetings to keep projects on track and help team members work collaboratively to complete projects on time.
  • Promote project organization and efficiency: Before starting a new campaign or project, write down the names of each team member and client contact on the project, tools you’ll need to complete tasks, and the budget/time frame you’ll need to work within. From there, prioritize the projects that are both easiest to complete and impactful for the organization.
  • Plan everything using an editorial content calendar: Enterprise-level projects would be hard to manage without a centralized calendar used by everyone involved. A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) serves as a road map to ensure your projects meet business goals. Try out Vertical Measures’ content calendar template to get started.
  • Continuously measure each project: Accurately measuring and tracking efforts against established goals is essential in proving ROI. Because you’ve set specific goals in place, the measurement of different metrics should be easier to track – making your digital marketing strategy more effective.
.@JoePullizi: One thing is certain: If you don’t keep an editorial/content calendar, the #content doesn’t get done. Click To Tweet

Develop internal content evangelists. Be transparent and make other teams feel like they are involved in the process so they are more likely to support content Initiatives.

Challenge #4: Marketing to Multiple Audiences

While certain enterprise-level brands think they can effectively market to extremely broad audiences – this strategy is rarely (if ever) successful. Granted, marketing to multiple audiences is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.

Enterprise-level companies need to realize that broad #audience segmentation simply does not perform well. Click To Tweet

Typically, larger companies believe they can have one strategy that works for multiple audiences. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. This is not to say that you need an entirely new strategy for each audience segment, but your digital marketing strategy should be specific to your goals for each audience.

Per Content Marketing Institute research, enterprise-level companies have more audiences to target than any other kind of business. The average number is six, but some target more than ten. It’s great that marketers want to create and promote content that satisfies many different tastes, but this can make it harder to reach specific goals, and harder to track ROI.

2017 B2B Enterprise Trends - Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Enterprise marketers need to focus on creating a customer journey that speaks directly to each audience segment. To accomplish this, start by segmenting your audience and identifying their needs at each stage of their journey.

How can you segment your audience?

Here are some ways to segment audiences for different pieces of content (in no particular order):

  • Behavior
    • Engagement with your brand
    • Frequency of engagement
    • Types of content shared
    • Number of purchases
    • Preferred communication
  • Demographic
    • Age
    • Family circumstances
    • Ethnicity
  • Geographical
    • Place of work
    • Neighborhoods
  • Attitudinal
    • Personal interest
    • Lifestyle
    • Culture

Some marketers call the process of understanding their audience as finding their ‘personas’; others call it target demographics. They’re both right. SMBs and enterprise-level companies must first understand their customer audiences.

  • How are they alike?
  • How are they different?
  • Do you know their purchasing habits?
  • What communication tools and messaging practices do they like?

For example, if your business sells a recreational vehicle for weekend adventures, you’ll certainly have a mix of customers and prospects of varying age, income and gender levels. Knowing details of these groups can help prepare the content strategy in advance of the work.

Challenge #5: Committing to an Established Digital Marketing Strategy

Creating a content marketing strategy and sticking to it is a challenge for most marketers. For those at enterprise organizations, it can seem impossible. With various audiences and countless departments, it can be very hard to meet the needs of your external and internal customers.

Luckily, according to CMI 2017 B2B Enterprise Trends, enterprise marketers found their stride this year – thanks to developing (and sticking to) a content strategy.

2017 B2B Enterprise Trends: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs

Digital marketing requires a holistic approach that only works if all projects are consistently managed with an established strategy. Building a dedicated team that’s accountable for each task within a project is critical when marketing in an enterprise environment.

How can you improve your digital marketing strategies?

Here at Vertical Measures, we recently began to revisit how we perform digital marketing strategies for our clients. Our past methodology was based on the waterfall method. In fact, we’ve found that this is what most agencies follow.

Waterfall is linear + sequential, & #contentmarketing is not. Be more agile. Click To Tweet

Agile is based on the principles of, “test, learn, iterate,” and works under the presumption that there is always more to learn.


Oxford Dictionaries defines Agile as:

A project management and continuous improvement term that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.

Unfortunately, a digital marketing strategy doesn’t thrive using the waterfall method alone. Why? Because a waterfall method requires a completed strategy before content creation, promotion, and amplification are done. Waterfall is linear and sequential, and digital marketing – of course – is not.

While “going Agile” is a change that requires some serious insight and relatively little foresight, it has been one that is showing awesome promise for our own internal teams.

What did we learn today?

  • Obtaining C-suit level buy in is critical to digital marketing success
  • Expanding communication across departments can drastically benefit campaigns
  • Optimize processes to improve quality of work and ROI
  • Segment audiences instead of marketing to everyone
  • Improve your digital marketing strategy by going Agile


Need a coach to help your enterprise marketing team build a solid digital strategy? Check out our digital marketing training and mentorship program!


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Brad Kuenn

Brad Kuenn is the co-author of The Customer Journey: How an Owned Audience Can Transform Your Business and Content Marketing Works. As Marketing Director at Investis Digital, Brad manages internal inbound marketing and acts as senior editor for the website. Brad’s responsible for ensuring that content efficiently reaches established goals, delivers optimum results, and aligns with Vertical Measures values. Follow him @BKuenn +Brad Kuenn