Working in marketing has never been as exciting as it is today. At the same time, it’s never been as demanding. Trends change daily, new tools are beneficial yet challenging, and — along the way — you have to always be creative, inspiring, and achieve targets within tight time frames.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that the risk of overworking oneself is also higher than ever before. According to Forbes, around 83% of marketing and communications professionals in the U.S. feel burned out and like they must be permanently available. This is an alarming number and perfectly highlights the challenges that marketers face on a daily basis.
Thus, it’s all the more important to learn to recognize the signs of too much pressure — then to channel it efficiently and calmly. But how? In this #WorkAdvice article, we’ll explore why marketing professionals experience so much pressure in their daily work and discuss how they can deal with it productively to achieve balance and harmony.
The Most Common Causes of Stress in Marketing Jobs
No two working days in the life of a brand or marketing manager are the same. For anyone looking for variety in their job, this may sound tempting — and is certainly a common “pro” in digital marketing job advertisements.
But, in reality, having to constantly switch between projects, tasks, campaigns, strategies, budgets, and goals adds up to an enormous amount of pressure.
Digitalization has also led to many marketing managers working without boundaries. As a result of smartphones and remote work, employees are reachable virtually at any time and anywhere — and they feel the pressure to make themselves available, too.
So, the insights that Blind uncovered in its study, entitled “The Evolution of the Burnout: Covid 19 Edition”, are not that surprising. Blind asked 7000 marketing and communication experts to what extent they are affected by too much pressure and stress at work, and the results were quite shocking.
Around 75% of those surveyed admitted that they are currently or have been affected by burnout. That’s a higher rate than any other of the surveyed departments.
The reasons participants of the study gave vividly explain the causes for this:
Marketing managers are often exposed to extreme working hours due to pitches and campaign peaks. The pressure to succeed is enormous, and many colleagues, especially young ones, are not ready for the level of stress and fear failure.
Additionally, lack of sleep, breaks, and holidays lead to physical overload and inner burn-out.
High expectations from supervisors or clients due to aggressive goals can add additional pressure.
The demand on oneself to be creative, alert, and always up-to-date is probably greater in marketing than in any other department. Furthermore, creative bottlenecks can lead to the belief that you cannot meet your own and external expectations — this causes extreme stress.
Stress Can Make You Ill — and Miserable
"How do you deal with stressful situations?" This is one of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews.
There’s an obvious reason for this: performing well under pressure is what sets an average employee apart from an outstanding one. Those who manage to stay calm, think logically, and act professionally in stressful scenarios are an asset to any marketing team.
So, it's no wonder that stress is an important topic for HR when discussing work experience — especially in agencies and marketing departments. Too much pressure can have serious consequences for employees and the company.
For example, constant stress can reduce employee productivity, cause employee dissatisfaction, and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to an increased quitting rate. Additionally, it can actually become dangerous for the employee concerned.
Numerous studies show that workplace stress is by far the leading source of stress for American adults and has been increasing in recent decades. Increased levels of stress have been shown to be linked to increased rates of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other illnesses.
To sum it up: Too much pressure can cause dissatisfaction with one’s current job situation and, thus, lead to increased fluctuation. In the worst case, it can also cause damage to one’s psychological or physical health.
Therefore, we have more than enough reasons to examine the problem at hand and search for ways to better deal with stress and pressure in your work environment.
Easier said than done, though — right? Well, we have good news for you. If you take the time to learn, there are simple methods that will prove to be a real game-changer in your everyday work life.
8 Ways to Better Handle Stress as a Marketer
1. Reframe Your Approach
It’s common knowledge that the right attitude can make all the difference. So, when you feel like your manager is asking too much of you in too short a period of time or your client is making your original timing obsolete with unclear de-briefings — take a new approach by facing the stress with a positive attitude.
Instead of seeing it as a threat to your success, view this stressful situation as a personal challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow. This way, you’ll feel less panicked and lacking in self-confidence and more so ready to face a new battle head-on.
2. Find Tools To Automate Processes
When you’ve found the right marketing automation and brand monitoring tools, they can take a lot of work off your hands.
By allowing you and your team to define processes that make life easier, pre-plan and implement marketing campaigns, and measure results without investing too much effort, they save time and energy — thus reducing overall stress levels.
3. Optimize Your Own Work With the Right Training Sessions
Are you someone who struggles with time management and then feels like you can't cope with the pressure? Do you doubt yourself and then find it difficult to come up with unique, creative, and innovative marketing strategies?
Then you might want to consider signing up for training or coaching sessions in these areas. Especially for those working in marketing and communication, there are plenty of great online training courses and webinars led by experts. They offer valuable tips on how you can become more self-confident and learn creativity-inducing techniques.
4. Set Priorities
By categorizing tasks based on urgency and importance, you can sort through your workload and ensure that the most relevant things are done first. After all, not every task is equally important.
Your CEO expects a report on the performance indicators of your social ads campaign tomorrow? A task like this is both important and urgent. Thus, it’s best to take care of this one first. Then, move on to those that are important but less urgent — like finalizing your campaign budget.
When all the important and urgent tasks have been taken care of, you can move on to the remaining, less-important tasks — like answering emails.
5. Do What You Do Best — and Outsource the Rest
Not every task that comes across your desk during a stressful day needs to be done specifically by you. Thus, it's worth using your analytical skills to consider which tasks might be better delegated to colleagues.
Community management just isn't in the cards today? Then find a colleague or intern you work closely with and brief them on what’s required — then let them take over for you. This leaves you with more time to take care of urgent tasks.
Of course, it's not a matter of simply handing over unpleasant tasks but of deciding who has the skills and capacity to take on extra work.
6. Avoid Distractions
You're supposed to be focused on prepping a marketing presentation — but emails, Slack, or Trello notifications keep popping up on your desktop and distracting you. No wonder you're getting nowhere and feeling restless.
Whether it's personal or professional, the most important thing to do when completing important tasks is to block out (or workaround) distractions. When there's important work to be done, it helps to disable notifications of any kind, check emails max three times a day, and mute your phone.
You'll be amazed at how efficient and focused you'll become in no time.
7. Consciously Take Breaks and Listen to Your Body
If you take on too much, you'll gain nothing in the long run. At some point, you'll be frustrated to discover that you can't be as effective as you might like. So, in order to take proper care of your physical, mental, and emotional health, you need to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and eat healthily.
And most importantly, listen to your body! When you feel like you need a break, take it. This can be a short walk outside or even coffee with a colleague. You’ll find that these short moments of downtime help you clear your head and recharge your batteries.
8. Communicate Openly When You Become Overwhelmed
In a previous article from this #WorkAdvice series, we pointed out how important it is to say no to unrealistic requests and to communicate openly when you feel that a task doesn't make sense or has become too much for you.
If you notice that the pressure is building and you can no longer cope with the increasing responsibilities, you should set up a meeting with your supervisor to address the issue before it gets out of hand.
This shows maturity and self-awareness — and it protects you from becoming overwhelmed by too many tasks.
No two people are the same, and every individual has their own idea of what constitutes “too much stress”. This makes it all the more important to listen to your body and take action in a reasonable amount of time when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Open communication can work wonders here — but so can good time management, task prioritization, and taking breaks when needed.
Additionally, employers should be aware that they have a responsibility to their employees in this area. Only in a working atmosphere that is characterized by openness, transparency, and clear responsibilities will employees be able to remain truly calm in stressful times. And that will help everyone.