The Most Effective vs the Most Difficult Digital Marketing Tactics

Marketers have become more comfortable with digital marketing overall in 2019. Statistics show they enjoy success with social media, content and eMail marketing, along with SEO. Data & AI-driven marketing and Programmatic Advertising continues to be a thorn in their side, however.

The Most Effective Marketing Tactics

Marketers say the following tactics are most effective in their marketing campaigns:

  1. Social media marketing campaigns 53%
  2. Content marketing campaigns 48%
  3. Search engine optimization 47%
  4. Email marketing campaigns 39%
  5. Marketing automation campaigns 28%
  6. Data and AI-driven marketing 25%
  7. Programmatic advertising 18%

The Most Difficult Tactics to Deploy in a Marketing Strategy

The following digital marketing tactics present the biggest challenge to marketers:

  1. Data and AI-driven marketing 49%
  2. Content marketing campaigns 38%
  3. Programmatic advertising 34%
  4. Search engine optimization 33%
  5. Marketing automation campaigns 32%
  6. Social media marketing campaigns 28%
  7. Email marketing campaigns 21%

Digital Marketing Effectiveness vs Difficulty Chart

The apparent conflicts can be due to a variety of issues. For example, most marketers are either social media savvy or have someone on staff who is. Therefore, their perception of how easy it is to deploy social media marketing may be skewed by how easy it is for them to get it done. While they consider data and AI-driven marketing to be one of the least effective marketing tactics, most marketers admit it is also the most difficult tactic to deploy. The lack of effectiveness may actually reflect their lack of experience with it. Content marketing isn’t a difficult tactic to master, but it can be involved and time consuming so it is perceived as more difficult to deploy.

We can overcome many marketing difficulties simply by learning more about those that challenge us most, and practicing until they’re easier. If that isn’t feasible, the next logical step would be hiring an expert to do it for us, be that an agency or Virtual Assistant (VA) that specializes in data science.

Recommended Resources:

Is a lack of knowledge standing between you and programmatic advertising or data and AI-driven marketing? There are articles available online, but it’s tough to learn something like this in bits and pieces. Taking an inexpensive online course or reading a book or two will provide you with a working knowledge of these topics.

You can find inexpensive, expert courses on all marketing topics on Udemy, including:

If you prefer reading, I recommend the books, Data Driven: Harnessing Data and AI to Reinvent Customer Engagement by Tom Chavez, Chris O’Hara and Vivek Vaidya, and Data-Driven Marketing with Artificial Intelligence: Harness the Power of Predictive Marketing and Machine Learning by Magnus Unemyr and Martin Wass, to learn more about AI and data-driven marketing.

??? What are the most effective and most difficult marketing tactics for you to deploy? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Source: Ascend2 Marketing Resource Effectiveness Survey. Conducted by Ascend2 and their retail partners. 2019.

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Experts Reveal Top 12 Types of Web Analytics Tools
Canadian Report: English and French Use of Voice Search
Overcome the Big 5 Challenges Facing Email Marketers


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on,,, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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