This could be viewed from multiple perspectives.
Two of the developments have made marketers world over rethink their strategy, execution and the very existence of the profession in significant proportions.
This has brought about novel challenges to marketers both from domestic markets and going global perspectives. For instance gone are the days when marketers have to contend only with fellow local companies who have accessed to similar resources. As a result of globalisation many foreign companies come to domestic markets bringing with them wealth of resources. Communication material to processes are of world class in nature. They maximise synergies through development of communication material etc which could be used across markets with minimum changes. Local marketers have also raised the bar in this regard. The kind of TV adverts in Sri Lanka between Signal (Unilever) and Clogard(Hemas) is a strong case in point.
With many local companies going global local marketers also face the challenge of getting their mix right. Culture adaptivity probably place the most crucial role here.
10 -15 years ago there were limited channels of communication where public(consumer) seek information. In Sri Lanka during the early to mid 90's there would have been 2-3 TV channels and about 4-5 radio stations in each language and may be 03 main news papers which people read. Fast forward to 2008, and you find there are over 14 terrestrial TV channels, several Satellite TV players who expose consumers to over 80 or so different channels and you find Western Province alone having 30 odd Radio stations with many regional Radio stations while newspapers and publications have also mushroomed in significant proportions.
Given this scenario it is clear that consumer communication channels are fragmented. Those days to reach your core target audience a company had only to focus on running adverts on may be couple of TV programs, radio programs and several papers. However to reach the same audience a marketers have to choose among equally competing programs in multiple channels. Whilst the process and industry has grown to cater to this demand it is fair to say that no single company has mastered this art of optimising given the present levels of fragmentation.
New media such as Internet, e-mail and mobile phone based have also evolved which are also in the process of establishing methodologies. However given the rate at which obsoleting happens in these spheres marketers find it difficult to keep abreast of efficient methods of using such technologies. For example when Internet penetration levels are becoming worthwhile in Sri Lanka world is moving past typical banner advertising to more web 2.0 driven methods such as blogs etc which are considered more relevant in todays era.
2. Profiling the customer him/herself
Modern day consumer who is exposed to many things as a result of this exponential technological advances which is never seen in the history of the mankind is becoming more and more educated, matured by the minute. (S)he is evermore so demanding. Armed with knowledge the consumer is seeking customised product / service offering in every encounter. They are willing change service providers with slight failure to do so. shifting has become so much easy. Thus the marketers have a unique challenge of making use of technology to understand shoppers individually and catering to those requirements.
3. Regulatory developments and legal barriers
Legal framework has never been so stringent. From a global point of view legislation such as privacy laws, intellectual property laws create significant pressure on making use of technologies such as internet, SMS etc and also creativity.
Even in Sri Lanka recent developments such as NATA bill have made both tobacco and alcohol industries curtail their marketing operations. Industry professionals world over who are faced with these challenges are compelled look at various other alternatives and it had changed marketing focus dramatically from unusual methods such as societal marketing etc.
Similarly laws and supreme court judgements regarding noise or sound pollution have pushed marketers abandon some of the most successful execution methods that they've been practicing for ages and go in search of alternatives which are yet to be found. Further these have created significant pressure on budgets.
4. Pressure on accountability
Whilst the phenomena is not new, there is increased pressure from various stakeholders and especially shareholders that marketers should be more accountable for their budgets. For example they seek tangible results for every marketing activity/ expenditure. Whilst it is indeed a step in the right direction it has challenged marketers to tangibalise their action in such a manner which is acceptable to various stakeholders.
5. Evolving organizational role
Marketing is being embraced more and more as a business philosophy across the board which creates even more challenges to maketers on their evolving role. From a mere division which had specific role to play like anyother division now they are required to establish themselves in a new world where everybody in the company is a marketer with their marketing ideas.