Three Things That Frustrate Marketers and Block Success

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Ask anyone who doesn’t work in marketing about their perceptions of the industry, and they’ll probably come back with a list of adjectives like fun, exciting, creative and even glamorous. They base these glossy assumptions on rather tenuous facts. Sure, we might get involved in the annual black-tie sales conference and spend time dealing with the media — but they don’t see the endless spreadsheets, the budgets, the lead flow pipelines and the hours of testing that go into making any marketing strategy a success.

The fact is, marketing is just as difficult as (if not more difficult than) any other role within your organization.

Because of these skewed perceptions of what marketers actually do, there are a number of occasions when marketers can find themselves frustrated by the demands of their colleagues and bosses. While these people might think they are helping (because marketing is so easy that anyone can do it), more often than not, they are building roadblocks that frustrate marketers’ efforts.

While I’m generally a very positive person, over the past 20 or so years working in marketing, I’ve come across a ton of “helpful” suggestions that actually do more to hold marketing and the entire organization back. Here are just three of my (least) favorite.

Three Marketing Frustrations

  1. Too Many Cooks: Yes, marketers are creative people — so why do so many business owners insist on giving sales managers or other senior team members final sign-off on a project? I’ve even worked with one marketing organization where the IT (MIS) manager had to approve every single social media post. When other people get involved, copy gets messy, best practices go out of the window, and marketing campaigns start getting overly complicated, ineffective or just plain silly. One perfect example of this is when a sales manager insists you add additional fields to a lead generation form. He or she thinks it will save time when qualifying leads, while you know it will simply restrict lead flow (good and bad). You pay us to be marketers, so let us be marketers. Why don’t you go hang out in accounts instead? No, I didn’t think you’d want to do that.
  2. The “Drop Everything” Boss: Everyone has had a boss who suddenly announces that everyone must drop everything they are doing and start work on a new, vital project that has a deadline of yesterday. These brainstormed ideas usually come after the boss has attended an industry conference or read an “interesting” blog post. Changing course halfway through a well-planned strategy is dangerous. New strategies need to be tested and rolled out carefully to ensure success. Drop everything, and you’ll achieve nothing. The “drop everything” boss tends to change his or her mind frequently. Failure to explain how marketing works and why it is so important that you don’t drop everything will result in your failure as a marketer — so stand up for yourself and your profession.
  3. Vanity Projects: OK, I don’t want to sound miserable. but is organizing the annual staff picnic or holiday party really part of marketing’s remit? Sure, it’s a lot of fun, but if it doesn’t generate leads, build reputation, or help sell products or services, how can it be marketing’s responsibility? Pulling marketing resources away from revenue-generating opportunities is not only an expensive distraction (we marketing professionals don’t come cheap) but when targets need to be hit to secure the future of your business, it is completely irresponsible. Get someone else (on a lower pay grade) to do it, or alternatively, pull resources from multiple departments and share the responsibility.

What frustrates you as a marketer? Get it off your chest and share your comments below:

This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

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Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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