If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.
Woody Allen

We asked, you answered – here’s what mid-market digital marketing & ecommerce directors are struggling with as based on our annual Mountains & Metrics eCommerce Conference Attendees feedback session.

The pain points ranked in order of frequency:

#1 – Staying Up to Date on Digital Marketing Trends

The most common challenge for marketing and commerce directors was trying to stay ahead in an ever evolving industry. Responses ranged from “rapid rate of new technologies” to “how to keep on top” to “overwhelmed by everything we’re not doing.” The sentiments reflected in these comments really speak to the need to effectively prioritize and focus on the right activities to maximize ROI given all the noise.

Common theme: We all struggle to stay abreast on changes in the digital space and prioritization is key.

#2 – Using Digital Data to Inform Efforts

The second most common pain point suggested a desire for more sophisticated analyses to inform marketing and eCommerce efforts. Respondents wanted analyses like “segmentation based on potential ROI,”  “accurate attribution for LTV,” (lifetime value) and simply to “understand what’s working.” A corollary thread related to this concern that was mentioned a couple times was simply the ability to act on the insights gleaned from data. This points to the need to leverage the data we have.

Common theme: The exhaust from all the data can choke any team.

#3 – Grow Site Traffic & Conversion Rates

The third most common challenge identified was related to increasing key metrics (traffic, visitors, and subscribers) and profitability (conversions, and revenue). Marketing and eCommerce directors are on the front lines for driving growth and they need to understand the optimal ways to drive and convert website traffic.

Common theme: “What have you done for me lately?”

#4 Tech/Talent/Communities – A 3-Way Tie!

Three issues rounded out the fourth most common concerns.

  • Tech Stack Limitations – On the tech stack front people expressed concern about everything from selecting the right ERP system to limitations of their existing ecommerce system. It really seems there is no perfect eComm solution…just constant iterations
  • Finding Digital Talent – Hiring digital talent continues to be an issue for many. We’ve seen lots of data on the digital skills gap in online marketing and it’s no surprise that it’s a big issue for mid-market companies to recruit and hire great talent, particularly in more rural areas. Being savvy with the data and tools to analyze is a big need.
  • Managing Social Communities – Finally, a consistent concern was about managing social communities ranged from effective communication with loyal fans to managing and organizing User Generated Content (UGC).

Common theme: Tech stacks can hamper efforts, data is everywhere and participating in customer communities is an ongoing concern.

#5 – Accurate Forecasting for Inventory

A tertiary problem for many ecommerce managers comes down to having inventory to sell onsite which pointed to the fifth most common issue focused around forecasting. Syncing up inventory and sales forecasts is a beast and it requires system integration across ERP, Sales, and Marketing to make it happen – but boy wouldn’t that be magical for planning purposes?

Common theme: Operations is critical for ecommerce success.

How Might Tadpull help?
We’re working hard to solve some of these challenges to help small teams manage all the variables that go into making an ecommerce store perform across SEO, Social, Paid and Email channels. We see a future with a blended approach of smart software and high-touch services along with ongoing education.

The Tadpull Software Pond

One of the most exciting things we’ve uncovered with our beta group, is the chance to really build technology based around the challenges we’re hearing. This conviction to build tools to make jobs easier is what has us running up the stairs two at a time each morning.

Here’s the major themes we’re working on solving based on these pain points.

  1. Proactive: The Pond can help teams be more proactive by surfacing which channels (or combination of channels are working and building on that success with smart data and visualizations..
  2. Sophisticated Analyses: As we gather more data, we’ll be able to leverage it and get more sophisticated in our analyses to understand who our VIP customers are and the appropriate ways to cross-sell and upsell them by serving relevant content and offers.
  3. What’s Working? The campaign level views can truly show which channels are driving quality traffic and help us optimize conversions so we can be investing in the right places across Search, Social, Paid and Email.
  4. Embrace Constraints: We can’t control tech stack limitations, but our services team members can help offset the talent gap. In addition, we fundamentally believe in training teams to take over digital marketing efforts in-house through hands-on workshops leveraging our 10+ years of teaching at the collegiate and executive education level.
  5. Futurecasting: History is the best predictor of future successes. The more data we can draw on to from ERP and sales system to make educated guesses, the more accurate we’ll be at forecasting based on inventory and sell-thru’s. Bonus for slicing this against campaigns for user acquisition.

What’s Next?

We’re incredibly excited about what we can do to help companies hone their processes and then use technology to scale their results. Going forward, plan on seeing more educational content and workshops here in Bozeman or NYC to help you and your teams crack this massive opportunity for building an ecommerce engine in-house.

Curious? Drop us a line to chat more.