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I stumbled across an infographic from Workfront this week that I found apropos, given:

  • Our crunched four-day week coming out of a holiday weekend (am I the only one who also hates 3-day weekends?)
  • We have 3 weeks left in the quarter (really two, if you’re going to Dreamforce with me)
  • Marketing, by nature, is stressful
  • All of us are trying to maintain some sliver of a personal life outside of our jobs

Let’s face it. We marketers are stressed. And you know what? That’s okay. Too often, we try to sugar coat it, take it on the chin, work through it, whatever. No. Sometimes it’s alright to embrace the suck. Sometimes it’s okay to admit to ourselves that we may be the one in four of us who is “overly stressed” or “stressed to the max.” So, this week I wanted to dissect this infographic and set the stage for a series of upcoming posts. I hope this post helps you ‘find your center’ and realize that you’re not alone if you feel like your world is spinning out of control at times. After all, the first step in climbing out of a situation is knowing where we are.

1 in 4 stressed
I love marketing, and I love tech. But sometimes, just like 3-day weekends, I hate them. The wonder of marketing is also its downfall. It is so vast and deep, it’s hard to know where to invest our time. Similarly, the velocity of tech (forwards, upwards, side-to-side, and hopefully not backwards or downwards) is its own roller coast ride regardless of what department you’re in. And all this is great fun…until it becomes too much. Today’s world is one of overload. We get separation anxiety from our phones, work hard to score a big job at a big name tech company and are subjects of demanding expectations and work environments. Sometimes, it takes a life-altering experience to re-evaluate why you’re so stressed out. So, why do we product marketers get so stressed out?
what causing stress
The start of it all is as simple as your basic supply and demand curve from high school economics. 80% of us feel understaffed and overloaded. Looking at the tech industry, I credit a lot of this to:

  • Tech is never done – Building software isn’t like writing a book. When you’re done, that’s just the beginning. There’s always another iteration, always another patch, always another new feature. Sadly, this makes the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ far, far away.
  • Needs and expectations shift – “My favorite word is ‘pivot,'” said no one ever.
  • Growth strategy is like speeding – Faster, faster, faster! (sh*t, a COP!) Brake, brake, brake! When the funding is there, tech companies can’t hire fast enough. When it starts drying (or burning) up, so does your headcount allowance.

All that’s fine, until your people start burning out, crying at their desks or feeling resentful.  

Now, there’s something I wasn’t expecting to see. Proving your value to people who don’t understand what we do causes us to hate our jobs more than trying to get all of our work done. That’s fascinating. That’s also why the second audience for the Summit is the rest of our companies. I’ve had to explain to other people, departments and leadership what product marketing is and how to leverage it before. It’s not fun. None of these reasons are fun…except “People who think they have great marketing ideas but don’t”…for the first two minutes, until we realize they’re not joking.

So what separates companies from the pack or makes us want to stay despite the challenges?

In almost all cases, it’s something bigger than ourselves. Whether it’s having the opportunity to contribute to today’s changing technological landscape, being a part of a historic experience and working on the world’s most innovative tech products, or creating the first product marketing summit…attaching yourself to a purpose is the fastest course to endurance and balance.

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