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Author's profile photo Anton Peters

Master the Challenges of Digital Marketing


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A lot of organizations struggle with time-to-value, value realization, and digital marketing adoption. Challenges that technology companies claim to solve, using sophisticated functions and features. However, this purely technological approach does not utilize digital marketing’s full potential.

If you want to deliver faster and better results, during your digital marketing journey, you should focus on business scenarios, marketing objectives, and the people in your organization. Technology helps secure success as an important enabler.

This article is the starting point of a series describing those challenges and tactics that will introduce a few recommended tactics to bypass digital marketing’s main challenges.

Expected reading time: 7-9 minutes

Are you tired of reading? This article is also available as recording:

Table of contents

The challenge With Digital Marketing

Marketers face many challenges, like attribution across digital and classical channels, single view of customers, legal compliance, and many more.  Even if they are all different, all challenges change, lose, or gain relevance, and on a regular basis, new ones evolve. Regardless, the biggest challenge is the marketing organization. Instead of solving the problems, it is (often) part of the problem.

Adopting digital marketing is like raising a pet. You always have to feed it and sometimes the variety of challenges seem endless. Like a pet, marketing is a living creature- you can’t expect it to run right after birth, just because it has legs like a grown-up. It needs to grow and learn first.

The same principle applies to digital marketing. You need to treat it according to its life-cycle. In return, you will receive the best value, which is why we believe in the “crawl, walk, run” approach, for digital marketing.

Crawl, Walk, Run

image two: phased approach

Our experience in various regions and industries, show the “crawl, walk, run” approach leads to improved value realization and project success and adoption. The image above illustrates the key characteristics of our suggested approach (image two).

Is the crawl, walk, run approach a project methodology? Not at all. The approach describes the main principles to feed and grow your organization. Underlying principles are based on an agile mindset:

  • progressive value realization
  • quick time to value
  • pragmatism
  • teamwork beyond reporting lines
  • challenge the status quo
  • always hungry to learn

Before we deep dive into each phase, we need to understand the key dimensions that influence success and failure.

Six Dimensions of Success and Failure

image three: drivers for success and failure

At least, six dimensions of success and failure influence every phase of your digital marketing journey. (see also image three above). They drive business value and return on investment, but they are also a source of risk, complexity, and duration of activities. The six dimensions are cross-dependent.  Accordingly, they are considered a whole. Below you will find a short introduction to get you started. Please view the “conclusions” to find a cross-reference to deep dives of the dimensions below

Business scenarios: Business scenarios describe a process from the customer’s or tool’s point of view. As a marketer, the best way to interpret business scenarios is by imagining campaign briefings (objectives, audience description, creative assets, and others). Business scenarios should be the starting point to every value driven discussion. Ideally, all tools and organizational activities should map back to a scenario.

To avoid limitations caused by design and create the best scenario for your, business scenarios should not be defined by channels, data sources, or features.  Although it might create challenges for your technology teams, you will be able to justify potential investments, with the right objectives and targets in mind.

Channels: Communication channels describe mediums that connect you with your customer. They are usually linked to your business scenarios and was to make sure you select the channels that work best for you, which depend on your audience and your brand’s objectives. Before you select a channel, you will need to consider many aspects such as, pull vs. push, direct vs. broadcast messaging, classical vs. digital, and many more.

Data sources: Data sources describe the inbound side of your marketing tactics. They should allow you to target the audience, as described in the business scenario. Next, to pure data availability considerations, you need to look into data quality and completeness, ownership, legal & policy compliance, and provisioning speed.

Features: Features describe a set of functionalities needed to execute the business scenarios with the channels and data sources. In other words, they help you run your business. Regardless of the richness of your technology stack, less is more. Try to give end users what they need and not everything that is technically available.

If your channels, data sources, and features derive from your business scenarios, you’re most likely on the right path.

Organization: The organization is about people and how to move with them, towards digital marketing. Current technology will not make you successful, but a team of people with the right mandate and mindset will. Often times, this step is highly underestimated during projects, yet it is the hardest to master. Face your organization’s challenge by using with a “business scenario first” approach.  The deep dive article below provides more details (see summary below).

Geography: The geographical span impacts all other dimensions such as outbound communication channel popularity, legal compliance of data sources, your customers’ culture preference of being marketed to, and so on.


This article introduced you to the fundamental challenges of digital marketing and how to bypass them using a” crawl, walk, run” approach. Now, you know what to consider to improve digital marketing in your organization.

And there’s more…

The articles below are deep dives about the key dimensions that drive success failure and the specific phase of your journey.

  • Learn how to crawl with a Minimum Viable Product
  • Learn how to walk by building adoption road maps (coming soon)
  • Learn how to run by setting up your organization for success (coming soon)
  • Business Scenarios: Understand how to leverage them as a marketer (coming soon)
  • Channels: How to build your own channel mix (coming soon)
  • Data Sources: How to support your audience creation needs (coming soon)
  • Features: Where to get started? (coming soon)


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Your SAP CX Services – Marketing Practice team.

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      Author's profile photo Matt Varone
      Matt Varone

      Great article, its good to see some business/marketing orientated content. Look forward to the coming articles.



      Author's profile photo Anton Peters
      Anton Peters
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Matt. We are just starting.

      Especially early next year you can expect a bunch of business articles/blogs to come.

      Cheers, Anton