In today’s globalized, digital world, work is an ever-increasing part of our lives. Project management platform Asana released a new report based on interviews with over 13,000 knowledge workers. ‘Work about work’ is dominating people’s day, pushing meaningful work to the sidelines and resulting in people being overwhelmed and experiencing burnout.
The report concluded that marketers in particular are spending 62% of their time on ‘work about work’ - communicating about work, searching for information, switching between apps, managing shifting priorities and following up on the status of work.
Given the large number of marketers experiencing burnout, it raised questions about why it is especially bad for marketers, if the marketers agreed with these findings, and how they managed their work.
Lisa Apolinski, CEO of 3 Dog Write, agrees with the findings, saying that marketers have to be available and in touch with customers 24/7. She explains “digital marketing is like a climb with no summit - no matter where marketers find themselves, they always seem to have 100 percent to go. Digital marketing changes rapidly, and marketers need to stay abreast of the changes if they wish to see their digital engagement continue.” She adds that she tries to divide work into smaller chunks and take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout.
Vincent D’Eletto, Founder and CEO of WordAgents, offers a similar perspective. “One of the biggest factors contributing to burnout is the constantly evolving nature of the business. Staying abreast of trends was difficult enough pre-pandemic, and only got worse within the last year,” he says. Miguel González, a digital marketing executive at Dealers League, agree on the ever-changing nature of the job, saying that “in most of the companies, there are many tasks that top managers don't know where to place and 99% of the time they fall on the marketing team. Seriously, if there's a new task that no one really knows who should do it, marketers will end up being in charge. And those tasks are not even related to marketing. There are new tasks for marketing every year.”
Cody Iverson, CEO of Viscap Media, says that the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns is measured by a number of factors. “Much of the work that marketers do is convincing their co-workers and their clients that their campaign is worth pushing to the public,” said Iverson. “This is done through showing metrics, relaying information that would explain different technical aspects of the campaign, and searching for more metrics,” he adds. Kristaps Brencans, CMO at On The Map, sees analysis and research intensive parts of being a marketer. “Closely examining competing businesses, the overall industry your own business resides in, and doing endless customer research to perfect marketing campaigns may seem like work, but they are the jobs that have to be completed before the real work can even begin, which is crafting the actual marketing material and creating advertising content,” he says.
Catherine Cooke, founder and CEO of Upskillwise, explains that most marketers feel stressed since social media platforms are constantly changing, and they have to keep up with it. “Content marketers are continuously retraining themselves as the terms of service on these platforms change. The kind of content that performs well, which content does best on which platform, and the way that users engage with each social media platform is constantly changing. This makes it difficult for marketers to ever really know what they need to do,” she says. She notes that a potential solution to this is setting consistent goals and planning. “It’s vital that everyone on your marketing team is working towards the same goals and metrics. This reduces the amount of time spent on work-about-work, since everyone is on the same page to begin with.”.
“Marketers like myself use a wide variety of tools, such as project management software, email marketing apps, paid advertising platforms, and more. And marketing never stops. You can press pause on a paid advertising campaign, but your website never sleeps,” says James Pollard, the founder of TheAdvisorCoach. He says that constant planning and prioritizing helps him stay on top of things and avoid burnout. “I try my hardest to stick to those tasks and avoid unnecessary switching between apps until each associated task is complete. I also batch my communication, so I only check email twice per day and I respond to all of my LinkedIn messages once per day. This has been a huge help within my business,” he adds.
What experts agree upon is the ever-changing and complex nature of marketing work that contributes to feelings of burnout.
Tina Arnoldi, MA is a marketing consultant and freelance writer in Charleston SC. Learn more about her and connect at TinaArnoldi.com