How to avoid losing your mind in marketing

    By: Clifford Jones

    If you’re like most people these days who focus on sales and marketing outcomes, the heat is really on.

    The good news is there’s an abundance of phenomenal, affordable tech, like marketing automation and search marketing, enabling the smallest of companies to compete at a scale never before achieved.

    The bad news is finding, implementing and making a return on your investment in marketing, content and automation these days seems maddening.

    Welcome to the mayhem of marketing that is affecting small business owners, executives and the marketing directors, managers and people who are on the front line getting all the work done every day.

    Feeling overwhelmed

    No wonder so many people who work in marketing are frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed out. First, the boss wants results. If you’re the one who is supposed to get all the work done, heck, you want results too, but in your way, like being able to sleep well at night again. What gets in the way is shooting from the hip, not planning, lame marketing software no one likes to use, zero accountability and reactionary, fear-based thinking. No wonder little, if anything, meaningful seems to get done. Of course, there’s very little budget to go around. Putting all the sales and marketing elements together today, given the overwhelm of the Internet, digital ads, social media and mobile alone, is scary stuff for most people. It’s downright maddening at times. This creates a lot of extra pressure, fear and emotion that shows up at work. Most of us have lived this or live it today.

    Let’s take a closer look at each side here. If you work in marketing every day and you’re completely stressed out and about to lose your mind, you’re not alone. In fact, marketing has to be one of the most emotional, stressful realms of the business world. There’s significant pressure and a never-ending list of work to get done.

    Plus, bosses tend to change their minds a lot or throw new projects onto your plate without any regard for your current workload, lack of budget and lack of manpower to get it all done. You’re overwhelmed most days and the way you see it is your boss and maybe others above her just don’t “get it.”

    Let’s look at it through the eyes of the boss, the risk takers, business owners and leaders who oversee sales and marketing in larger organizations. Business owners and leaders want to make a profit and create wealth mostly. They take more risk, in theory, or have more experience to build a company. Like all of us, they have fear, doubt and a ton of pressure on them. The odds of making it in a business or your own over a 10-year period are slim. So it’s helpful to empathize with what owners and stakeholders are up against emotionally and financially when we work on building a new plan and hitting new goals. Now, if the boss would just use his email!

    Key strategies

    If marketing is making you mad and you’re about to lose your mind, then start with a commitment that will find peace with it all. Shake off your doubts and think about the fundamentals, what’s working well now, what’s not working well and what is the short list of items to tackle to make sure you have peace of mind with your core marketing campaigns such as new leads, new opportunities, new customer sand finally, delivering the goods and keeping your customers happy. Marketing impacts the entire customer lifecycle.

    Commit to learning new things and keeping an open mind for new people, applications and solutions to enter into the picture. This requires maintaining a super-positive outlook even when the marketing projects seem to be causing you the most problems.

    Perhaps it’s time to work with a trusted marketing advisor who will coach you and guide you through the challenges you’re having right now. This can be powerful because you’re learning with someone who’s been where you’re going. This needs to be someone who’s not trying to sell you a “silver bullet” marketing solution like that viral social media campaign that will never work, or SEO or blogs, etc. He or she needs to be a trusted advisor you pay a fee to help you. Or find one who’ll help you for free.

    The best way to avoid losing your mind in marketing is to build your confidence and accept there will be an ebb and flow to marketing success. As you gain confidence, your decisions will be more sound. You won’t second-guess yourself. You will know what to do! After all, not knowing what to do is stressful by itself.

    Role of technology

    The biggest waste of money, time and human, is investing in stupid technology and marketing campaigns that are boondoggles from the beginning. Getting the right advice early solves this problem. You pay for advice all the time for taxes, accounting, law and medicine. But it seems rare in business to find a professional marketing person you can trust. Part of it is that there is no regulation in the marketing world like in others such as financial. That makes tons of room for bad guys and people who just need to sell you what they sell. The other part is we simply don’t have the time to search and find the right person so we often depend on the wrong people.

    Never forget software, advertising, SEO, website, and all other salespeople are paid to sell, not advise you. You can get educated to a certain point. But there will be a time when you cross the line and find yourself in the unknown, especially with technology and content. Find someone to watch your back, someone you can trust, someone you can send every hair-brained marketing scheme or pitch to review. You must make sure though they walk the walk. Otherwise, they are not likely to be able to help you.

    The bottom line is we all want to be happy at work and at home. What I am sharing here is not restricted to raising the bar in marketing alone. It can impact sales, finance, team building and more. This is all about you building your confidence as you climb your learning curve while trusting you can and will need guidance for marketing. If you feel too much pressure at work, unappreciated and the rules keep changing, then it’s almost impossible to be happy. So the point of all this is to help you make sense of the marketing mayhem, the occasional insane moments that crop up, by trusting in yourself and being okay knowing everyone in your position and mine needs advice, coaching, guidance and support in marketing.

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