Overcoming the growing mental health crisis in marketing
Marketers have always had to cope with complicated workflows, long hours, and high expectations. But the challenges of the past year have been unlike any we have seen before. Marketing organisations had to adapt to accelerated consumer demand for seamless digital experiences, solve a myriad of team collaboration issues, and pivot away from in-person events—all while continuing to prove ROI. Add on broader mandates around social justice and sustainability, procurement pressures, and of course, the pandemic’s toll on each of our personal lives, and it’s no wonder so many marketers are feeling the strain.
For proof, take a look at the findings from a recent independent survey commissioned by Sitecore. We asked marketers to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 and their priorities going forward. The results show that:
- Marketers are stretching themselves to the breaking point. Nearly three-quarters of UK marketers (74%) said the past 12 months were the most challenging time in their career. Most (61%) considering quitting their jobs at least once.
- The challenges facing marketers are complex and diverse. In response to the pandemic, marketing organisations had to fundamentally change the way they engaged with customers. For many, that exposed gaps in training and experience, and seven out of ten of the marketers we polled (72%) said they have had to upskill. In addition, much of what was created over the past several months involved short-term fixes that now need to be cleaned up.
Others have reported similar results. For example, a study by Merkle found that 93% of B2B CMOs work at organisations that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Even so, 52% have increased their marketing spend and 74% have changed their approach to customer content. Finding like these indicate that several pressure points are looming, and that it may take some time for marketers to regain a sense of balance.
What can we do to support one another as we grapple with the challenges that lie ahead? In order for us to improve our well-being and continue to best serve our customers, marketers—and enterprises as a whole—need to:
- Recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on both the workplace and the marketing industry overall. Managing the uncertainty of the past year hasn’t been easy, and many marketers continue to feel anxious and overwhelmed. What’s more, these emotions may intensify as the workplace shifts again and new hybrid environments emerge. Check in with your team. How are they adapting to return-to-office policies? Acknowledging the issues we face and working together on solutions is the first step towards alleviating the stress that marketers are experiencing.
- Leverage technology. As mentioned earlier, many companies have had to change the digital experience they offer to customers. Investing in the right technology can make those gains permanent and make it easier to reach customers, deliver seamless experiences, and prove ROI. For example, a digital experience platform combines customer data, analytics, AI, and marketing automation capabilities to nurture customers throughout their journey with personalised content in real-time, across any channel. Technology like this enables marketers to provide better end-to-end customer experiences in a marketplace now dominated by digital selling.
- Put people first. A strong work culture impacts business performance. Enterprises must prioritise the employee experience and create workplaces where everyone feels included and valued. Marketing hiring is expected to outpace the labor market in the years ahead, so address any job satisfaction issues now—before they cascade downward.
- Support employees through mentorship. Mentors can serve as tutors, counselors, or coaches—or a mixture of all three—and formalized mentorship programs have been shown to improve retention and employee engagement. I know I would not be anywhere close to where I am today without the smart, talented women who were my mentors along the way.
These steps are only the beginning. As the marketing industry—and our individual organisations—continue to evolve, we will have to bolster our resilience again and again. Keep in mind that the disruption we have all endured has the potential to inspire incredible marketing innovation. But we will only be able to embrace this kind of renewal if we support one another and engage in honest conversations about the path forward.
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