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3 Big Struggles Nearly All Marketers Face


Lately I’ve realised that my behavior relating the marketing industry has changed. I’m not looking at the campaigns some brands do on social media anymore and I’m not interested in the trends coming up in 2017.

I’m more interested in the behavior of the marketer.

I’m looking at the guy/girl struggling to understand why Instagram has launched Instagram Stories, why Snapchat doesn’t invest in influencer marketing, why Facebook Live video is such a big hit or why mobile is the present and not the future.

Even more, I’m curious about how marketers optimize their time, how they can find the balance between learning for their personal development, executing for the brands they are working for and also trying not to get into a burnout situation.

In fact, as I said before and I’m saying it again, I believe that marketing is a lifestyle, not a job!

But as I’ve seen in 2015 and 2016, marketing is changing from one day to another. And that happens because marketers needs to adapt, find new ways to build bridges between brands and consumers and also help customers find solutions for their problems.

I believe that marketers will struggle with the next 3 subjects in the coming year: attention, competition and product.

Why these and not others?

Because as I’ve told you already, I’m more interested in the marketers behavior then in the industry’s.

Think about how Stephen Curry, LeBron James or Russell Westbrook are playing today and how Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman or Kevin Garnett used to play a few years ago. To understand the game, the team, the victories and the losses, you need to closely observe the players.

So here are my observations about marketers and their struggles in the next few months, or even years.

01 Attention

Attention is the term that many marketers still struggle to understand.

Let’s look at attention in 2 ways:

  • Inside marketer behavior
  • Inside customer behavior

Inside marketer behavior

In the last few months I’ve realized that most marketers have lost their concentration.

For example, let’s say that you are a content marketer, working to publish your new article about a topic in your industry. You have your own pattern on how to work, on where to work and what to do before you work and after. So you are listening some music, drinking a cup of coffee and start writing the article. But guess what, you are notified on your phone that somebody just liked your last Instagram photo. You unlock your phone, get on Instagram, look at who liked your photo and also start scrolling on your feed to see what’s new. Now that you are updated with the latest photos and videos uploaded on Instagram, you can get back to your article. After 5 minutes you get a Whatsapp notification from a group of friends talking about their lunch and sending pictures “Ohh nice, let’s tell them that it looks amazing” So you start a pretty small talk conversation. After 10 minutes you get back to your article. Do you understand what I’m saying here?

We are easily distracted in our daily work by our social media lives.

And this is only one situation I remember now, because I was and am in it too. We are distracted by a photo while we brainstorm a campaign idea. We are distracted by a phone call while we are researching for a new feature for the product we are working on. We are distracted by a notification on Twitter while we are working on a new Subject line for the next Email campaign.

I believe that marketers will continue to struggle to work efficiently while being distracted by their social lives.

And this means they will spend more and more time at work, trying to do the job that they were supposed to do while they were checking their social media feeds.

I’m not saying that we need to stop using our phones while we are working. Or stop using social media while we are working.

I’m saying that we need to educate ourselves on how to work more efficiently and be more productive.

For example, I turned off all my notifications. And there are moments when I work in which I’m not even answering my phone. Why? Because it’s my time, and I respect my time, my work and what I’m doing. I can reply to that message after I finish my work, when I take a break or after I finish my work day.

If I don’t respect my time, nobody will either.

Inside consumer behavior

Consumer’s attention is the thing that the marketer works for every day. Attention is part of the equation a marketer should solve to get to the customer.

Think about the most successful marketing campaigns you’ve ever seen and I’m 100% sure that attention was the secret ingredient all marketers added to their recipes. Think about the most successful social media networks and you will see the importance of attention. Snapchat is an attention machine. Instagram is an attention machine.

How do you know what kind of content you should create to get your customer’s attention?

First, you need to understand your customers, you need to see how they talk/walk/consume and behave in different situation. That means that you need to go and talk with teenagers if they are your customers. You need to get in the “Mom’s of *insert any city here*” group to understand what their struggles are. Go to soccer games and see how people react when their favorite team loses. Watch. Learn. Adapt. Execute. Fail. Repeat. Do it again.

This is not a motivational article for marketers.

Attention is something we all need to get more curious about. I believe that marketers should learn about attention in conferences, webinars, writing about attention and how to control it.

02 Competition

Well, you didn’t see this coming, right? It’s something that you as a marketer should be obsessed about.

But today’s competition is bigger than ever before.

Because a marketer’s competition is not another brand. It’s the customers family, friends and the media companies.

Think about that! You are a digital marketer and you are working on getting your customer click on your ad, buy from you or give you his email. And you are using social media, let’s say Facebook, and you are posting every day great photos, awesome videos, even you even get them to like your content sometimes. But there are days in which you have ZERO likes or ZERO engagement on your content. Why? Because that online newspaper just published an article about a sensible situation in your town and everybody has their eyes on it. Or some family member posted a cute photo with a kid eating a cookie, and that might be way more important for your customer than your content.

Your competition will be bigger in the near future.

You need to create strategy not only based on what you want, what your brand is or the other brand’s competition. You need to really get into your customer’s mind (yeah, it’s a little bit psychological here) and try to make the brand part of their life.

03 Product Marketing

I have a lot of examples of brands who are not using google ads, email marketing, Facebook ads or Instagram sponsored ads but they sell every month more and more of their product. Why?

Because their real marketing stays in their product.

No great marketing strategy, social media plan will ever save your shitty product.

So, before you want to have a great marketing plan, create an awesome community, do content marketing and record your first Facebook live, get deep into your product and make it the best.

You need to invest more in your product than in your marketing, brand or website.

For example, somebody called me and asked me to give them a few names for their brands. I was shocked because he called me just for this. Then I stopped him and asked him “Great. But what about your product? What are you selling? How good is your product? How many people tried your product? What they told you about it? Who tried your product? Is there a market for it? Are you having enough money to create a market for it? How much research you’ve done before you thought about this product? What problem will your product solve?” After ending the conversation, I have realized that… the product is the best marketing strategy a company can have.

It’s not about the logo, the brand, the color, the psychology about the font, color, shadow, UI UX or social media communication. It’s about the product.

When your product solves a problem, when your product sells a desire, when your product is something that people are dreaming of you’ll know that you can start investing in anything else too.


I didn’t write this article to get more attention, to tell you about my struggles or to teach you about the importance of product for your marketing.

I wrote this article for myself, because when I will be in July or September this year, I want to get back and look whether I was right or wrong.

So, if there are a few of you that will read and believe in it, that means that my job with this article is done.

And this is all I want from it.

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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo