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Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Are Marketing Folks Unhappy? An Affiliate Marketer’s Perspective

photo credit: number1homeagent.com

 photo source: number1homeagent.com 

A recent study released by businessinsider.com named marketing as one of the worst fields to go in to.  In fact, two of the top ten unhappiest jobs in America are marketing positions.  I find this statistic tremendously hard to take in though.  Why ?  Because I’m an affiliate marketing manager and I love my job!

To understand why other marketing managers and directors feel so discouraged in their professions, I decided to do a little research.  Through my digging, I uncovered two universal reasons which make marketers question their career choices:

Too much going on at once

Most jobs are stressful and marketing is no exception.  Marketing managers and directors are responsible for uncovering new data while at the same time making sense of it and developing an actionable plan around it.  Marketers spend hours on end testing, tracking, graphing and then testing some more, often times only to discover that their original hypothesis was incorrect. Then it’s back to square one!

It’s not hard to see why this process can quickly become frustrating and have you asking yourself why you got into marketing in the first place.  The best advice I have for these disgruntled marketers is simple: organize everything, keep all of your current projects on a digital calendar (along with deadlines), and never lose sight of the end goal.

I stress the importance of organization because, as I have learned in the realm of affiliate marketing, managers literally have thousands of partners with whom they need to keep up.  Just as an accountant would use a digital filing system for her clients’ finances or a traveling salesman would employ expense tracking software to get reimbursed on trips, it is vital that affiliate marketers use the tools of the trade to stay in touch and stay organized.  Without knowing what and when things need to get done, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed and fall behind.  One of the best tools I have come across to organize and track my marketing efforts is trello (Trello.com). I highly recommend it to anyone who likes visual references to track their progress. We use Trello at Shoeboxed and it’s helped the entire marketing team be more organized and more efficient.

Not knowing the boundaries of their job description          

The second issue which may lead marketers astray is the fact that the profession literally encompasses almost every facet of the business spectrum.  Those of us in the marketing department must work with the sales team, the product development team and the finance department in order to gauge where they need to focus our efforts.  Without some sort of group collaboration, marketers will become overwhelmed as they’re pulled in 10 different directions and end up working on projects that might ultimately not be helping them move towards achieving their larger goal.

To prevent this, my advice is to employ the use of all-hands on deck meetings and weekly team updates to get everyone on the same page.  Having such a unique role within the marketing department, I can attest first hand to the benefits of simply chatting with my colleagues about what each of us is working on.  Small and medium sized business owners routinely schedule accounting and business development updates so they can ensure that everything is running smoothly.  Marketing managers should do the same thing.  Not only will this help them determine what they need to do, but it will also guarantee that their efforts are aligning with those of other departments.  Without some sort of collaborative meeting schedule, a marketer’s job can quickly turn from a stressful one into a full-out nail biter.

So What?

Even with the stigma surrounding marketing, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Getting in a good routine of tracking campaign efforts and working with other teams to achieve a common goal will go a long way in alleviating stress.  Marketers uncover invaluable information but it is all meaningless unless there are other people to contribute to how it is used.  Marketing is about being collaborative, working together and being the glue that holds the other departments together.  The marketers who hate their jobs are the ones who work for companies that think their marketing departments should operate independently.  In my experience, marketers are only happy when they can successfully perform their jobs and that can only be achieved if they are provided with an inclusive environment where they can thrive.

Do you have a job in marketing? If so, how do you like your job?

  • Katrina

    Hi Michael! I enjoyed reading this, it gave me a little background of how marketing managers actually work. I’m 15, still in highschool and I would like to become a marketing manager when I get older. I’ve been doing a lot of research on different careers because I’m not sure what a good career for me would be. I want a good paying job, but don’t want to spend my whole life in school.. so I feel this is best for me. I’ve never had contact with an actual marketing manager so could you fill me in as too if you really like/love your job? Would you recommend this job to me?

  • Michael Hourigan

    Hi Katrina, let me first say kudos for already starting to think about a career at age 15! I would absolutely recommend looking in to becoming a marketing manager. Marketers have very diverse backgrounds which means you’ll have lots of options with what you want to study in college. Also, the marketing landscape is always changing which means there is never a dull moment and always more to learn. I really do love my job and can honestly say that marketing is a great career path.

    Please feel free to shoot me over any questions you have at mikeh@team.shoeboxed.com.

  • Sasha

    Where is the data to support your initial claim in your opening paragraph?

  • Emily at Shoeboxed