To the surprise of literally no one in the marketing industry, a recent online poll found 80% of marketing professionals claiming to be “over-loaded” and 25% saying they are "overly stressed" or "stressed to the max." On the surface, those are disturbing numbers. But when you dig a little deeper into the specific causes respondents cited for their stress, there are some simple steps that can be taken to get some much-needed relief.
1. 55% said “proving my value to people who don’t understand what I do.”
For starters, accept the fact that they will never understand what you do. Then ask yourself, what do they understand? ROI? Cost per lead? If you can identify a quick, quantifiable win and show some immediate results, they will back off and start giving you the benefit of the doubt. For example, try some A/B testing on headlines, photography, or the calls to action on your search landing pages using Google Experiments. Sometimes simple changes like moving a form up the page or reducing the number of fields to fill can have a really big effect. And they can be done quickly in your content management system, or with a minimum of developer assistance. You can evaluate whether or not your changes move the needle easily using Google Analytics.
2. 51% said “juggling all my work to get it into a 40 hour work week.”
Time and resource constraints are always a problem. Think about what tasks really require your attention, and which ones you can trust to your agency. A good agency should function like an extension of your team, knowing your people and processes, and helping you prioritize and stay on strategy. Also, using a system like Trello or Asana to track your tasks makes it easier to hand them off to others, reducing your management load because the delegates can update the status of the tasks in those systems and free you from having to follow up on every single task.
3. 42% said “people who think they have great marketing ideas and don’t.”
Nature abhors a vacuum. The best way to avoid responding to bad suggestions is to make better ones first. With marketing in a constant state of change, you must constantly bring new ideas to the table, whether you’re asked to or not. The good news is there are plenty of great sources you can go to for inspiration, from award shows like Cannes and the Webbys, to sites like Springwise, Ted Talks, TrendHunter, and Fast Company. Oh, and your agency should be the biggest source of new opportunities and provocative ideas. If they aren’t pushing you out of your comfort zone and asking questions like “What would you do if budget was no object?” or “Where can your brand be 10 years from now?” then it may be time to find a new agency.
4. 42% said “keeping their bosses in loop by email,” while 32% said “by status meetings.”
No wonder they’re stressed out. Those are the two most annoying and least effective methods of communication. Get some software like Slack or HipChat and let everyone stay up-to-date in real time, including your agency teams and outside vendors. Even if your bosses don’t use it, and they probably won’t, they’ll feel better knowing the team is in constant contact. And while you’re at it, make a conscious effort to keep your meetings short. Most meetings go an hour because that’s the default in calendar programs. Set a shorter timeframe with a firm agenda and a hard out and watch how your team magically accomplishes your objectives more quickly.
The good news is, despite everything, 84% said they didn’t regret choosing a career in marketing. Beats working for a living.