In spite of a desire to stay positive, hopeful and optimistic, marketers are overwhelmed by many complex business challenges—the likes of which they haven’t seen in many years. Some of these are industry-specific, but most are not. As marketers long for the “good old days” when they left their work at the office at the end of the day, here is what is keeping them up at night.
Marketers’ Nighttime Struggles
1. Changing technology. Whether it’s product upgrades or new technology, it requires a lot of time and effort to keep up with the automation that runs companies of all types. In the past, marketers who knew how to use Excel and PowerPoint had an advantage, but that’s no longer true. Today, marketers are required to have a working knowledge of the plethora of technology that’s used to stay connected 24/7. Examples include CRM software, design programs and data analytics. The sheer volume of information and technology available impacts not only marketers but the colleagues they support.
2. Social media overload. When LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms came on the scene, they created a high degree of interest. Everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Now experts are warning that instead of social media being a part of a marketing professional’s job, it’s become a specialty of its own. To stay current requires marketers to spend hours reading, learning and processing information in order to maximize business opportunities and develop effective marketing campaigns. As a result, it is now a full-time job for one or more team members.
3. Keeping their jobs. Due to dwindling resources, companies in general, and marketing departments specifically, are expected to do more with less. There are fewer employees to handle the work load, lower budgets to implement marketing programs and unrealistic expectations to get it all accomplished. It’s no wonder that marketers wonder if “today” will be their last day on the job.
4. Increasing competition. As the competition for attracting new customers and keeping existing ones grows, marketers worry about how to get their fair share of the marketplace. The challenge is that many products and services have become a commodity, and marketers are finding it difficult to create the corporate distinction and unique selling proposition they need to thrive.
5. Walking the generalist vs specialist tightrope. While marketers need to know the four Ps of marketing—products, price, promotion and place—that’s not enough. They have to be able to drill down deeper and really understand how the pieces fit together in a broader context. Marketers are no longer operating in silos. They need to be able to interact with colleagues from product development, finance and legal, human resources, quality control, distribution and other corporate functions.
The fact is marketers are faced with new surprises, changing business conditions and competing priorities every day. As they struggle to adapt, maintaining equanimity is essential. A sense of humor helps. Additionally, a focus on team alignment and engagement is a powerful way to stay focused during the day and avoid insomnia at night.