Half of Marketers Are Happy: Here’s How to Join the Happy Half


By Kerry Gorgone

According to recent research conducted by MarketingProfs and Mantis Research, 51% of marketers are happy. Half of marketers feel fulfilled. Half of them feel engaged at work.

The other half…don’t.

Which half are you in, and what does it take to find happiness?

In the context of the study, “happiness” entails the following:

  1. Learning Mindset – actively looking for opportunities to learn new skills
  2. Intention – knowing what you want to accomplish each day (and doing it)
  3. Grit – trusting your gut, and bouncing back when something doesn’t go well
  4. Community – learning from (and leaning on) each other
  5. Energy – engaging in self-care generally (exercising, eating right, cultivating friendships, etc.)
  6. Fulfillment – feeling valued at work, energized by it, as opposed to burned out

The key to happiness, considering these dimensions, is to be curious, resilient, self-confident, and supported.

51% of the marketers surveyed reported that they were happy. 18% reported that they were unhappy. The rest were sort of…meh. Neither happy nor unhappy, but definitely not engaged at work and not feeling fulfilled professionally.

Don’t be meh! Here are some things happy marketers do that you can start doing today.

Seek some outside perspective.

It’s easy to get trapped in our own head. Happy marketers reported making time for personal and professional growth—attending events, reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts, or looking for new challenges at work. Marketers aren’t happy when we’re simply “coasting.” We need to be challenged, and if we’re not, we need to actively seek projects that require new skills, as 4 out of 5 happy marketers do.

Read books, listen to podcasts, attend in-person events. Learning from others can help open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. Without new perspectives, it’s easy to become isolated and fall behind in an industry like marketing, which changes at a dizzying speed.

Apart from the research focusing on marketers, humans in general have been feeling lonelier in recent years. According to research covered in the Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today, rates of loneliness have doubled in the United States over the past 50 years. Connecting with people is the only way to overcome the feelings of loneliness and isolation that are affecting millions of people (marketers included).

If you’re one of the many people experiencing feelings of loneliness, get yourself out of the office and come to an event. Meet your peers. There’s no better cure for loneliness than meeting people, and if you learn some new ideas along the way, even better!

Build a support system for yourself.

Happy marketers feel supported, emotionally and professionally, when they need help from others. If you don’t feel supported, it’s time to start building relationships.

You could create some mentoring relationships, whether you’re the mentor or the protege / mentee. For tips on how to seek out a mentor relationship, check out the book One Minute Mentoring, by Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz.

Experiencing occasional loneliness, of course, is natural, and can help us to better understand what others are going through. Having overcome your own loneliness isn’t just personally fulfilling, it’s professionally rewarding. Knowing how loneliness feels and how to beat it will help you to better understand your customers and clients.

Mark Schaefer’s new book addresses the loneliness epidemic, describing a sense of belonging as “the greatest human need.” If we can get a handle on our own loneliness, we might be able to help others combat isolation, as well.

“People have a deep need to belong, but there is a belonging gap in the world,” Schaefer observes. “A profound unmet human need, a need that is escalating to crisis proportions. Is it possible for a company to help people belong? The answer is yes.”

He goes on to share examples of very smart ways companies built communities around their brand. If you haven’t already, order a copy of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins — you’ll be glad you did.

Make time (and space) to do intellectually demanding work without distractions.

Half of the marketers surveyed have a place to go when working on mentally demanding tasks so they can minimize interruptions. The rest don’t.

But think about it: if you’re being distracted every few minutes while working on a marketing strategy or rollout plan, you’re not able to do your best work. You’re likely losing some great ideas in the effort to redirect your concentration to the interruption and back again.

According to the MarketingProfs study, most marketers start the day with a clear idea of what they want to accomplish, but nearly half find themselves waylaid by their email inbox. Find a place to work on challenging tasks with minimal interruptions.

This might seem easier said than done, but the solution could be as simple as turning your phone and email off for an hour and putting on noise-cancelling headphones.

Carve out some email-free time and try not to worry about what you’re missing. In many cases, those lengthy, multi-party email discussions reach a conclusion without your input.

Stop worrying that everyone else knows more than you. (They don’t, and chances are they’re worrying the same thing.)

More than half of the marketers surveyed worry that they don’t know as much as their peers. No doubt your peers know more about some things than you do, but you have your own areas of expertise.

The emotional energy we invest comparing ourselves to others could be much better spent taking on more challenging projects, talking with a mentor, or even asking one of your peers to teach you about something they know more about, like asking a podcaster for advice on launching your own show.

Don’t worry about what everyone else knows: work on expanding what you know. Building your community and cultivating a learning mindset will help you to cross over from “unhappy” or “meh” into the half of marketers who feel happy and fulfilled.

There’s more (much more) to what makes marketers tick. If you want to learn more, check out the full report.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone is a writer, lawyer, speaker and educator. She’s also Director of Product Strategy, Training, at MarketingProfs. Kerry hosts the weekly Marketing Smarts podcast. Find Kerry on Twitter.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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