Marketing has never been more important or more misunderstood than it is today.

On one hand, CMOs are gaining influence, and marketing spend is on the rise. On the other hand, data and automation technology are driving seismic shifts in the industry, which have created uncertainty.

Executives, co-workers, and even marketers themselves are questioning the role of marketing, its goals, and how to achieve them.

That confusion can cause problems within an organization. When marketers aren't sure how to deliver the best results, or when they feel friction from other departments, their productivity and success rates go down.

Here are five common marketing challenges—and suggestions for overcoming them.

1. Nobody understands what marketing does

Marketing used to be a simpler proposition—conduct market research, come up with a creative angle for a product, and execute campaigns. Then everything changed over the last decade. Marketing today is responsible for branding, messaging, demand generation, collateral, competitive positioning, revenue, and more. And yet, you still have co-workers who, when pressed, couldn't say what exactly marketing does.

Marketers should take the time to educate and inform their colleagues about why marketing matters and what significant role it plays in helping a business grow. A good tactic is to hold monthly "lunch-and-learns," during which you teach interested co-workers about a new aspect of marketing every session.

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image of Doug Camplejohn

Doug Camplejohn is CEO and founder of Fliptop, a leader in predictive analytics applications for B2B companies.

LinkedIn: Doug Camplejohn

Twitter: @camplejohn