4 Marketing Threats and 17 Ways to Overcome Them

Linda J. Dodson

Marketing threats are a constant disruption to your best marketing plans. There’s nothing more frustrating than doing your strategic planning and having it shift unexpectadly.

These days technology and laws can change overnight and force you to go back to the drawing board. And that means that you’re going to have to consider both internal and external factors as you plan for your next marketing plan.

As you start going through your market planning process, I thought I’d share some recent marketing threats that you can use in your SWOT Analysis process.

I reached out to our community of marketers and entrepreneurs and asked them what marketing threats and disruptions impacted their businesses and how they dealt with them.

What’s a marketing disruption that

marketing threats for 2023

Data Privacy Issues

Data privacy issues have become a major obstacle for marketers. As consumers, we want our data to be secure, but as marketers, we want to know as much about our customers as possible.

Since the launch of Apple’s iOS 14, more than 80% of Apple users have blocked access to their data.

Not only that but the launch and shift to Google Analytics 4.0 has put a new focus on how visitors engage with your website without the use of cookies.

Here’s how several marketers have dealt with these issues in their businesses.

Consider Third Party Partnerships

When Apple changed its policies to focus on consumer privacy, this forced us to look at advanced measurement solutions to assess our ROI.

A performance marketing agency relies on data, and the inability to track performance can quickly render a marketing campaign ineffective. Therefore, we partnered with third-party MTA Solutions and created our own in-house Media Mix Modeling solutions to adapt to these data challenges. By utilizing third-party partners and building proprietary Media Mix Modeling solutions to meet our clients’ needs, we heightened our abilities to gather and decipher data, which allowed us to pivot quickly and adapt to the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer, MuteSix

Shift to first-party data

Recently, my business has been preparing for the death of Google’s third-party cookie. This useful piece of technology, which will be phased out in 2024, tracks the shopping behaviors of prospective customers and serves them retargeted digital ads. While the data that’s mined from third-party cookies is powerful, the practice has raised many privacy concerns (which is why Google is eliminating it). 

To make up for it, we’ve focused on maximizing first-party data — like drilling down into our own website analytics and sending out customer satisfaction surveys.

We also use Salesforce as our customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and I can tell you first-hand that implementing a CRM strategy now will greatly benefit merchants who have relied heavily on retargeted digital ads.

Stephanie Venn-Watson, Co-Founder, fatty15

Leaving Facebook for SEO Marketing

Last year Apple introduced a new policy that eliminated most of the cookie-tracking from websites that were visited on Apple devices. This meant that people who visited websites could no longer be tracked or marketed to on social media platforms like Facebook that used that information to show them “relevant” ads from their browsing.

We had a heavy presence on Facebook but since that was implemented we’ve changed marketing strategies to massive success. Ditching most of our Facebook budget, we started to use it on SEO and ranking naturally for keywords and terms that bring potential customers to our website.

Seth Newman, Director, SportingSmiles

seth newman, sportingsmiles quote on marketing threats

Create email list segments based on actions

Every day, roughly 1.4m people open emails from our businesses. So when iOS14 came out, we were extremely aware of the potential impact.

We shifted our email-marketing segmentation to focus on still sending to users who had tracked opens OR who had tracked clicks.

We simply increased the number of our segments for clicks.

We have actually seen our email delivery get even better. Apparently, clicks are even more important to most mailbox providers than opens when it comes to gauging user interest in campaigns.

Shaun Connell, Founder, Writing Tips Institute

Shaun Connell, Writing Tips Institute - quote on marketing threats

Tracking Clicks On Our Links in Each Email

Our marketing efforts are disrupted because we’re no more able to effectively manage cost projection for our email campaigns.

We used to be able to rely on open rates as a good indication of how well our campaigns were performing, but now that’s no longer an accurate measure.

We decided to start tracking the number of times users clicked on our links in each email and then comparing those clicks against the open rates.

This allowed us to get a better sense of what was working and what wasn’t with our current strategy. We were able to make some decent estimates using this technique but it’s still an ongoing process that requires constant attention and adjustment.

Tiffany Homan, COO, Texas Divorce Laws

Google’s Helpful Content Update

Google’s Helpful Content UpdatGoogle has been changing a lot of its policies lately. One change that might help you is called the helpful content update. This change means that Google will be giving more importance to websites that have helpful and useful content.

So if you want your website to rank higher in search results, make sure that you write articles and create pages that are really useful for your visitors.

Stop keyword stuffing!

Recently Google rolled out a Helpful Content Update wherein it will rank content that is informative and not promotional in nature.

Because we focussed on writing sales-y content, our rankings and traffic dropped. As soon as we identified the cause, we started taking measures to improve our rankings.

We started producing content that has value and is informational to our audience.

We also avoided stuffing keywords just for the sake of optimization as Google rankings mostly depend on the quality of the content in terms of its value and not SEO.

When we started with this practice, we saw a spike in our ranking, Domain Rank and traffic.

Madhurima Halder, Content Manager, Recruit CRM

Madhurima Halder, Recruit CRM quote on marketing threats

Shift to informational content that answers customer’s questions

One major Google update in particular made us reconsider our content marketing strategy.

When Google started to understand intent, it became almost impossible to rank buyer intent keywords unless you were an eCommerce store.

At this point we’ve decided to shift our content towards informational topics, providing the best answers to people’s questions.

At the end of our content, we always offer suggestions regarding products or services readers can buy, closely related to the article’s topic.

It’s not the most sophisticated strategy, but it works very well in practice.

Ionut-Alexandru Popa, Editor in Chief and CEO, JPG MEDIA SRL

Optimize your website traffic for social media and email

One change that has disrupted my marketing is the introduction of featured snippets by Google. Prior to this change, I would get a lot of traffic to my website from people searching for specific information and finding my site through organic search results.

However, since Google started featuring snippets, I have noticed a significant drop in traffic. To offset this loss, I have been working on optimizing my website for other types of traffic, such as social media and email.

I am also now focusing on creating more detailed and highly informative blog posts, as these are more likely to be featured in featured snippets. In short, by diversifying my traffic sources and creating more engaging content, I am able to continue to generate leads and conversions despite the change in Google’s algorithm.

Jim Campbell, Founder, Epic Caribbean Vacations

Google’s May 2022 Core Update Demanded Website Updates and Reboot

The latest May 2022 core update of Google caused my website to drop in rankings due to the rise of visual search engine pages (SERPs). This is because Google’s update aims to adapt to the latest changes in people’s searching behaviors so as to improve overall search results. As an after-effect of the May update, my website took a hit, and content visibility started performing poorly. 

I coped with this dilemma by updating all the content on my website and optimizing keywords using the latest trends. I refreshed each article to ensure that its content matches current search intents and remains relevant to my niche. I also had to make sure to use images relevant to the story content. These changes register well with Google’s algorithm so that it identifies my website as a reliable and credible source of information, therefore boosting my ranking for better visibility.

Josh Tyler, CEO, Tell Me Best

Implement a Mobile First Strategy

  • 58% of all online traffic starts with mobile.
  • 61% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from mobile-friendly sites.
  • And, 94% of small businesses have mobile-friendly websites.
mobile first design

But none of this is the same as a mobile-first strategy.

A mobile-first strategy is one in which a company designs and builds its websites and applications first for mobile devices, and then scales up to larger screen sizes.

In other words, you have to START with mobile in mind and then scale up to other larger formats.

Here’s how a few marketers have dealt with that.

Optimize your website for mobile devices

Google’s Page Experience update rolled out around mid-2021, and it hit us really hard since most of our traffic comes from organic search. 

The update was followed by an almost immediate drop in SERP rankings, costing us about 80% of our monthly revenues. The biggest problem we identified was that our website was poorly optimized for mobile devices. The design and content simply weren’t user-friendly on phones and tablets. 

Fortunately, we were able to address the problem quickly with the help of in-house writers, developers, and designers. We changed the design and backend systems of our website to make it load faster and correctly on mobile, while also optimizing our content to make it more scannable and organized. The results so far have been positive. We slowly recovered our lost rankings over the following quarter, earning us back the traffic we had lost. We’ve also implemented stricter production guidelines to make our content easily consumable on any device.

Jonathan Merry, Co-founder & CEO, Cryto Monday

Shift From Desktop to Mobile Necessitated Mobile-Friendly Ads 

One change that has disrupted our marketing is the switch from desktop to mobile.

More and more people are using their phones to go online, and this shift has had a big impact on our advertising.

To fix this, We have started creating ads that are specifically designed for mobile devices.

This means making them shorter and more visually appealing, as well as ensuring that they’re properly optimized for small screens.

We’ve also started investing more in mobile-friendly content, such as videos and infographics.

By making these changes, we are hoping to reach our target audience where they’re spending the majority of their time.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Choose the social media platform you want to focus on

Today, there are a lot of social media options. And, it’s difficult to decide where we should focus our efforts. Why should we use Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform? What’s the best way to use Facebook? Should you create a Snapchat account?

These are all questions you need to answer if you want to be successful online and become a disruption. So to fix this issue we decided to choose the platform that works best for our brand and focus on that.

Now we avoid being on every channel, and we only use that platform that is compatible with our target audience and invest time and energy to increase our customers and gain incredible profit.

Daniel Foley, Director of Marketing, SEO Stack

Shifts to Digital Shopping and Channels

This shift to omni-channel marketing has been going on for quite a while. But the pandemic just put it into hight gear.

Your customers are searching and shopping online. This shopping behavior can be on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or even email. You have to be ready to meet them where they are — with a consistent brand and offer.

omni channel marketing statistics

Create content that helps customers make online purchasing decisions

The dramatic shift towards digital shopping is one of the significant disruptors of our marketing strategy.

As we move towards digital channels to establish connections and trust with consumers through our marketing campaigns, it was challenging to adapt to these changes and deliver our brand’s customer experience.

We needed to explore and tweak our strategy to cater to a wide range of digital options while maintaining the quality services we promised our customers.

We approached the challenge with empathy in mind. We doubled down on buyer guides and informative video content to empower our customers with sounder purchase decisions online. Refining our marketing strategy to focus on personalization, cultivating customer relationships, and building brand loyalty digitally has been a fruitful experience for our business in the long run.

Nunzio Ross, Owner and Head Director, Majesty Coffee

Create a consistent experience across all online channels

The way customers interact with brands has changed a lot in recent years.

It’s no longer enough to just have a website and expect people to buy from you that way. Today’s consumers demand a more seamless experience, and that’s where Omnichannel marketing comes in.

With Omnichannel marketing, you’re able to provide a consistent experience across all channels whether it’s online, in-store, or on your mobile app.

Sounds great, right? But implementing Omni channel marketing can be a bit tricky and can lead to disruption.

It’s not enough to just repeat our existing marketing strategy across different channels.

We fixed this disruption by learning that we need to tailor each interaction depending on the channel and the customer’s preferences. But with the right tools and strategy, omnichannel marketing can help us to reach more customers and boost our sales unbelievably.

Edward Mellett, Co-Founder, Wikijob

Create a seamless experience for site visitors

One marketing disruption that we’ve dealt with is Youtube changing its policies for traffic. Much like when Google introduced featured snippets, Youtube has been changing privacy policies which can impact where our videos are recommended and how many individuals see our videos. 

We’ve had to adjust our marketing accordingly and make our page more “link friendly” so to speak. For example, we have a blog page that is the home of everything coffee, on the top of that page, we have hyperlinks that take users to other pages such as our Youtube channel or brewing guides. This allows us to market across our site and Youtube page. It is in this way we reach a larger audience without sacrificing video views. I feel that because of the changing algorithms, policies, and advertising on Youtube and Google, many other companies have also had to rethink their marketing strategy to reach a large audience.

Alex Mastin, CEO and Founder, Home Grounds

Embrace digital tools to reach your online audience

Since the pandemic began, many businesses have had to change the way they operate with our organization. For marketing teams, it means that we need to use digital tools and platforms to reach our audience. However, it has a lot of challenges.

One of the biggest issues that may lead to disruption in our business marketing is getting everyone on board with the new way of doing things. But with a bit of patience and perseverance, we become able to overcome this and continue to offer the best services to our clients.

Our solution was to clearly commit to these digital marketing platforms and train our team on using these tools to communicate flawlessly.

Mark Valderrama, Founder & CEO, Aquarium Store Depot

Look for new ways to monetize

One change that has disrupted my marketing is the increasing use of ad blockers. More and more people are using ad blockers to block ads on websites, which means that my website is losing out on potential views and clicks. 

To fix this, I am experimenting with different types of content that are less likely to be blocked by ad blockers. I am also looking into different ways of monetizing my website that do not rely on advertisements. While this is a challenge, I am confident that I will find a solution that works for my business.

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof

Here are some simple ways that you can use to monetize your online content:

  • Affiliate revenue: You can make some additional income by promoting brands that you use in your business. To make this worthwhile, you’ll have to have a good amount of traffic as most software only pays out 10% of their monthly or annual fee. You can also generate decent affiliate revenue from coaching programs that you participate in.
  • Create online courses: If you’re a subject matter expert, you can build your brand, expertise, and credibility by converting your thought leadership into simple courses. You don’t need to have a really large audience to succeed here.
  • Convert your content to ebooks: If you’re more of a writer, you can convert your content into several ebooks and sell those on Amazon.

FAQs

What are examples of threats?

Typically threats are external factors that can negatively affect your market position. Threats can also uncover external opportunities that you may not have considered.

What are external threats in marketing?

Threats are, by definition are a function of your external environment and are usually covered by your SWOT analysis process. These typically include

  • Shifts in technology or new technologies
  • New laws, policies and regulations
  • Competitors and competitive innovation
  • Environmental factors
  • Changes in labor
  • Shifts in market conditions
  • New trends
  • Shifts in society and culture
  • Changes in the economy

What’s the role of a SWOT analysis when looking at marketing threats?

Doing a SWOT analysis is an important element of any marketing plan or business plan. A thorough SWOT analysis will help you decide where your time and money is best spent.

Conclusion

If you’re in the SWOT process, then you should consider these 5 major threats to your marketing. By having a better understanding of these disruptions, you can develop a game plan to overcome them.

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