Digital marketing · Digital Strategy

Challenges and trends in digital marketing?


October 13th, 2015

for people in digital marketing, particularly SEO/SEM, what are the top 5 biggest challenges? 

Stephen Mitchell

October 13th, 2015

Biggest challenge for me is battling click fraud.

Paul Bruemmer Technical marketing consultant

October 14th, 2015

I received a few inquiries asking about my list of 5 challenges above, what they mean, are they trends or challenges etc.. At a high-level, these are both challenges and trends related primarily to what we refer to today as "SEO," and here is a summary of their meaning.

1. Data Quality(companies have not invested in their data quality which is critical path to their current and future success and growth. The majority of companies continue to sign up and spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars on sub-optimal SEO packages labeled with trendy buzz words such as Content Marketing, SEO Audits, Local SEO, On-page SEO, LinkBuildingetc., using strategies and tactics going as far back as 1999)

data is basically facts and figures:example, a number like "en670b"

information is data in context, it is meaningful organized data:example, "Nespresso coffee maker model en670b"

knowledge is meaningful information applied to solve a problem or task:example, "the Nespresso coffee maker model en670b is a Patented "Single Touch" hot milk system. Buy it new with Amazon Prime for $601.65 or buy used - like new for $289.99. Twenty-two customer Reviews - 4 Stars."

Note: machines like Google read structured data (machine-readable facts and figures), so it can organize the data in context (as meaningful information), and apply the information to the relevancy of a task or problem as knowledge (to more accurately answer questions in a search query)

2. Agile changeability (with respect to "SEO" and "data," companies need to embrace more agile methodology)

Change Agility is organizational agility i.e., to be able toanticipate, respond react to various changes to succeed i.e., adaptability. "Agility" is the keyword when triangulating from features to benefits.Agility drives success in any ecosystem.

Delivering work described above and below as an agile and iterative workflow system improves your competitive advantage. It's a race; so having the best consulting and tools to keep your business ahead of the competition is critical path to maximizing your growth and success.

3. Semantic parity (this is where the rubber meets the road on organic search traffic, and where "SEO" becomes sub-optimal)

Semantic Parity maps and matches relevant indexable website content to the crawlable semantic web of data found in Linked Open Data (LOD) and Linked Open Vocabularies (LOV), Freebase, Wikidata, and anypubliclyavailable ontology or vocabulary.

The Internet is moving from a "web of documents" to a "web of data," or trusted sources of data references/referrals, which make-up what is generically referred to as the "Semantic Web."

4. Middleware (there's a lack of development of useful middleware to automate critical structured data procedures)

HTML pages need to be equally meaningful to both machines and humans. In the real-world we buy stuff we understand, in regards to relevance (needs, preferences etc..). We are heading towards a 1:1 replication in cyberspace, so HTML pages need to be equally meaningful to both machines and humans. Middleware can accomplish these critical path objectives for organizing data, information and knowledge.

5. Automation (companies don't invest enough in things related to automation and technology, they appear to continue spending marketing dollars as if its free money)

Example of automation and technology is a Sponger. This is middleware that transforms non-RDF data into RDF dynamically, i.e. when the systems are running. Non-RDF data, such as HTML pages, structured data, such as JSON-LD, and web services from Google can be ingested'on the fly', converted to RDF and stored inside data bases, and able to be used and re-used quickly. This kind of 'sponging', i.e. transformation, allows the company that has these non-RDF data to quickly join the Linked Data world, and be able to participate in the bootstrapping and network effects of structured and linked data.

Automation to increase workflow includes the following variants:

A) Discover deficient Property description docs - study SERPs for relevant entity types and associated keywords. Benefit: Client HTML pages equally meaningful to both machines and humans.

B) Improve Property descriptions - improve ability to access and merge data from internal databases, etc. Benefit: Curate accurate machine-readable versions of client Property Types

C) Ingest deficient pages leveraging fact tool’s crawler & sponger - incorporates new Property descriptions into new collection of documents generated for export. Benefit: The cleaner the machine-readable descriptions the better the SERP positioning’s as Google continues down this path

D) Import new enhanced docs into current Web from automation tools. Benefit: Agile iterative workflow system to improve client competitive advantage.

Paul Bruemmer Technical marketing consultant

October 13th, 2015

  1. data quality
  2. agile changeability
  3. semantic parity
  4. middleware
  5. automation

Miguel Jaramillo Marketing Consultant. Social Entrepreneurship. Sustainability

October 13th, 2015

1. Determining wining formulas pricing products, within a catalog of options for a very specific target audience.

Kevin Carney Content Marketing works, but needs better tools.

October 15th, 2015

The small businesses I work with all have the same #1 challenge and that is content generation.

Someone has to do it and you either learn how to do it yourself, or hire it out.

Early stage startups who can't afford to hire it out also seem to have a hard time doing it themselves.


October 14th, 2015

Hi Miguel, are you talking about dynamic pricing of the product you are advertising or optimal bidding strategies for keywords? Can you please clarify?


Eric Owen CEO Mono Solutions North American

October 14th, 2015

1. Generating quality content - because nothing matters as much. 2. Synchronizing on-site and off-site efforts - why go half way? 3. Keeping content fresh - one and done doesn't work. 4. Seeing what competition is doing - need to find points of differentiation. 5. Being disciplined about retention marketing - why pay to get them if you aren't going to work to keep them?


October 15th, 2015

Thanks Paul, that is a lot of specific information to digest. But very interesting stuff. 

@Eric Owen, I agree with your point 5. Retention is part of the holy trinity of 
1.awareness (where SEO comes in)

each one of these three has its own unique set of challenges...and opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. 

The initial question, is focused primarily on the SEO/SEM. Specifically, what are to five challenges (pain points) practitioners face daily and what the trends (evolutions), they see in the industries. 


October 16th, 2015

One thing that has surfaced so far is the issue with content; either quality of content or content generation. What are the main issues with content, in of itself? It is the cost of generating content? Is it the difficulty of finding good content creators? What are the criteria of good content (what data points matter)?


October 16th, 2015


There are two ways for content to be discovered.

A) The first is through personal sharing; you give it to people for whom it's relevant and they'll share it. So... find the key people and influencers (not necessarily the same persons) and send it to them. If they consider it significant, they'll share it.

B) Get it at the top of Google, Bing, Baidu, Amazon, Youtube, etc. in the relevant section. That's determined by quality and sales numbers. 

Okay, that's distribution. What about production? How to create something that will be distributed on its merits? It has to be world-class #1 quality. Nobody cares about a book or article that is ranked #400. When people are researching/learning about a topic, they want the #1, #2, and perhaps #3 book (and the same for the whitepaper, the video, etc.) Nobody cares who came in #4 in the Olympics. 

Any writer at the top of their field is earning $120-150,000/yr or more ($10,000 per month). It takes 3-4 months of solid 9-hour days five to six days per week to write a top book (I know, I've written a bunch of them). So that's $30-40,000 for the author. There's also copyeditors, layout, cover design, etc.

Very few companies are willing to pay that. So they hire a content farm to generate (not write...) a 500-word article for $100. It goes nowhere. You get what you pay for. 

It's easy to find the top writers: go to Amazon, search for your company's top keyword, and the leading books are listed. Contact the authors. Most of them know the numbers quite well: how long it takes, how much it pays, and so on. 

Another way: Look at the leading magazine/trade journal for your field. Contact the editor. He'll be able to recommend a few of the writers.

Some may wonder: $40K to a writer? Is that too much? No, it's rather little. The value to a company is easily several million dollars in revenue. For startups, it can be dozens of millions of dollars.