Putting your mental health first is easier said than done. The pressure to perform and keep the marketing engine going can be all-consuming. But for marketers currently out-of-role, it’s a particularly tough environment, with many businesses trying to cut costs and maximise results.
With work being so closely tied to mental wellbeing today, it’s easy to get bogged down and burnt out. “It’s taking its toll on individuals,” one senior marketer told Marketing Week. “We’re told we need to be agile but when projects and campaigns get paused and teams are asked to pivot on a weekly basis it can be tiring, and people lose their motivation and love for the role.”
The marketing industry is suffering from a feeling of “change fatigue” right now, she says – something which played a role in her recent decision to step down from a position with a leading consumer brand.
‘Addicted to results’: Why burnout is impacting marketers“I think there comes a time in your career when you need to assess if you are adding value and feel valued. Too often people stay in roles when they are unhappy and put up with behaviour that is less than desirable,” she says.
“It got to a point where I had given everything to the role and company, but I was feeling hugely undervalued, the culture was damaging, and I was mentally checked out.”
This marketer is not alone. NABS, the advertising, marketing and media charity, saw a 100% year-on-year increase in access to its core services, which support the wellbeing of professionals in the industry.
Speaking at Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing last week (5 October), Liz Moseley, managing director at Good Housekeeping and former Ascential CMO, discussed how marketers can look after themselves while navigating the job hunt and keeping their heads afloat. She was talking alongside Tony Miller, former Weight Watchers CMO and Jessica Houston, global planning lead at The Body Shop, who all have strong views about how to avoid burnout.
‘Doomscrolling LinkedIn is the worst thing’
Liz Moseley, managing director at Good Housekeeping and The Good Housekeeping Institute
Liz Moseley recently left her role at Tortoise Media, where the former Ascential CMO delved into journalism in her position as editor. She’s now the managing director at Good Housekeeping and The Good Housekeeping Institute, and advises marketers to think smartly about their career steps.
“When you’re in a role you’re ready to move on from, or you’ve made the jump, or been made redundant in a restructure, you’ve got to be really careful of LinkedIn. You have to manage your exposure to that platform.
“Because all you’re going to see is people announcing they’re ‘thrilled at this’, ‘Look at my amazing promotion’, ‘I’ve achieved all these great things’ – well done you, we all know it’s massive amounts of bullshit.
“LinkedIn is like the Tinder of the recruitment world – it doesn’t serve you to be scrolling. Time box it. If you want to set aside a Monday afternoon to do your due diligence and post, fine – but doomscrolling LinkedIn is the worst thing when you’re in that mindset.
“Be a realist. If you really want to do a massive shift, there’s no point trying to manifest it – you need to be able to afford your life, you need to be comfortable and sleep at night. It might not all happen in one go, you might need to plan a bit of a transition phase.
“So look after yourself, and be a grown-up about it.”
‘Listen to your inner voices’
Tony Miller, former CMO at WeightWatchers
Having built a career in Adland, Tony Miller left his agency hat and moved brand-side, with roles at Disney and WeightWatchers following. He urges marketers to listen and take time to reflect on what they want from a career.
“Being able to listen to your gut is important. I thought I was always going to be agency-side, because it was kind of in my DNA. But I had got to that point in my career where I thought, actually, I don’t want to do the same thing over again. I hadn’t had any brand-side [experience], but thought it was an opportunity and a challenge for me to try. Listening to those inner voices in your head is key.
“I left my job [at WeightWatchers] in December, for a variety of reasons, but I took it as an opportunity to take some time out and really reflect on what it is that I want to do next, and not just jump into that next role. Part of that journey has been re-establishing my relationship with recruiters as much as my network.
“I think the marketing industry is a rich place to build your career, build your friends and colleagues – and those are the people who are going to have your back when the time comes.”
‘If your gut is telling you to jack your job in, you need to look at it practically’
Jessica Houston, global marketing planning lead at the Body Shop
Jessica Houston built a career in B2B marketing before jumping into the world of consumer brands in her role at The Body Shop. When trying to land her first B2C job, she struggled with more than 200 job applications, she says, and encourages marketers to view the interview process as a two-way conversation.
“My biggest advice to job-hunting marketers is just to trust your gut. Have belief that you know what you want to do. If your gut is telling you to jack your job in, to do something different, you need to look at it practically – but if you feel like that’s the right thing to do, and that’s what you need to do, then do that.
“When I started out, I went to as many events as possible. It opens a lot of doors and helps you meet more and more people.
“You have to look out for yourself in the interview process. You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you, so you can ask as many questions as you want to about the culture, the people, the team, how they work – try and gain [insight into] whether that is a place you want to go and work for.
“Think about it as a two-way conversation, rather than a one-way interview.”