Experiencing marketing career burnout? Read this.

marketing career burnout

by Sonia Hunt, {grow} community member

It took me almost dying for a fourth time to get serious about my health and well-being.

At age three, I was diagnosed with severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies – the trifecta nobody wants.

I managed my diagnosis the best I could while hiding it from the workplace for decades because it did not offer me the psychologically safe environment that I required.

Over the years, I rose up the ranks to Chief Marketing Officer, still keeping my personal and professional lives separate. This brought a double whammy of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy behaviors from both sides, which I somehow survived through.

In 2008, I found myself on the emergency room table for a fourth time in anaphylaxis and almost dead. The diagnosis was that it was a severe food allergy reaction, and it left me with hives all over my body for the next year of my life.

There was no way I could hide this from my CEO or my team anymore.

This incident forced me to be real about my health situation, become empowered to live in my truth, and get serious about improving my health and well-being in a way that could finally see me thriving across work-health-life.

I wanted to stop “surviving.” I wanted to see myself thriving.

And so, I began what became a new journey to optimal health and well-being, breaking down personal and professional compartments, advocating for myself and my needs, getting help when I needed it, and leading my teams by example by taking care of myself first and foremost and promoting they do the same.

As I look at the world today, I’m guessing this is a very good time to write about marketing career burnout and YOUR HEALTH.

Marketing career burnout and you 

Ten years ago, there was no talk of workplace well-being. Many of us grappling with health challenges endured a silent struggle behind closed doors, striving to maintain well-being while the corporate world demanded the separation of our personal and professional lives.

That thinking was shattered with the pandemic.

Today, there’s no more compartmentalization, and Gen Z rocked that torch in this fight against employers.

Marketers, in particular, have been through too much pain in too short of a time. We’ve been trying to manage everything as best we can — pandemic catastrophes, new rules of marketing, remote work, layoffs, crazy customer behavior, and this little thing called AI. I am exhausted. And you probably are, too.

“The work cannot suffer,” said my former CEO … but here’s what he really meant: The people could suffer.

I’ll venture to say the Marketing Leader has the worst job today.

Others haven’t agreed with me, but they aren’t marketers! There is no career on earth that has changed so quickly.

And it’s not just the hard skills. You’re required to evolve in new ways – with strong inner/core skills, including resilience and adaptability – and almost immediately required to be the expert in them.

Marketing career burnout is real, my friends. The data shows it, and I know it from personal experience.

Today, as the lines between personal and professional are blurred, the holistic well-being of Marketing Leaders becomes paramount.

Why? I believe the skills and mindset cultivated in the field of marketing align well with the principles of Healthy Leadership, making Marketing Leaders natural candidates to champion a culture of well-being, collaboration, and adaptability within their organizations.

But to champion this within your organization, you must first be healthy yourself.

Marketing leader, healthy leader

Healthy Leadership is about a simple formula:

  • For your customers to thrive, the business must thrive.
  • For the business to thrive, your people need to thrive.
  • For your people to thrive, their leader must thrive.
  • For you to thrive, you must prioritize your health and well-being first.

Yes, it’s that simple. Because, if you don’t, how can you:

  • Be your best?
  • Enjoy your work?
  • Make conscious decisions?
  • Drive the change you need?
  • Lead healthily and by example?
  • Be resilient to changing dynamics?
  • Build long-term, valuable relationships?
  • Adapt to the intricacies of business today?

For personal and career longevity, it’s no longer a nice-have to be healthy and well; it’s a must-have.

Being a Healthy Leader significantly expands your capacity to navigate dynamic landscapes, engage stakeholders, manage changing narratives, and cope with a need to be constantly “on” in a new remote-first work environment.

Beating marketing career burnout isn’t just a great personal decision. It’s a necessary business decision.

In my own journey as a Chief Marketing Officer who managed in a high-stress environment, I discovered an approach that seemed to be right under my nose. I could apply my best marketing skills to improve my personal health and well-being!

You’re the product

Your success as a marketer depends on vision, strategy, and execution that grows customers and your business.

Those same skills can be used to grow and improve your personal health and well-being using a simple formula: “Define + Implement + Analyze.”

With my engineering background, I’m all about systems that help us get to an optimal state – whether that be for the business or myself.

I realized the systems I used in marketing could easily be applied to my personal health with one slight twist: Think of yourself as a ‘Product.’

When you’re marketing a product (or service), there’s a systematic way to go about taking that product to a high growth stage.

In that process, you’re defining vision, current state, challenges, optimal state, and a set of strategies or tactics to achieve optimal state.

Then, you implement those strategies and collect data that will then be analyzed to see how far you are from the optimal state, tweaking the strategies in a cyclical process until you achieve the optimal state.

This works in marketing, and it can work for your health as well.

Applying marketing principles to health

Let’s look at three familiar marketing steps and apply them to your health.

Like defining a vision for your marketing, this step is about defining the vision you see for your health by identifying three things:

  1. Key Challenges: what health challenges are you currently facing?
  2. Optimal State: what does the optimal outcome look like for each challenge?
  3. Tactics: what strategies will you put into place to improve each challenge?

Define a set of strategies or tactics you can put into action to improve your health.

Just as you would analyze marketing data, this step involves tracking the effectiveness of implemented health strategies, tweaking them as needed, and working toward desired outcomes

Let’s look at an example of one of the things I often hear from my executive coaching clients: “I feel stressed daily, but don’t know how to reduce it.”

Applying marketing principles to stress


  • Key Challenges:
    • “I feel stress daily, but don’t know how to reduce it.”
  • Optimal State:
    • Awareness: I know when I feel stress.
    • Management: I know the steps to reduce stress
  • Strategies/Tactics: can be determined with help of a health coach or healthcare professional.
    • Physical health: Nutrition
    • Mental health: Mental Health fitness
    • Emotional health: Meditation
    • Spiritual health: Self-care activities

2) IMPLEMENT: the actions in this example are scientifically known to reduce stress.

  • Nutrition — Primarily eat plant-based foods during weekdays
  • Mental health — Therapy 2x/month
  • Emotional health — 10 minutes daily meditation morning and night
  • Spiritual health/Self-care — Walk for 10 minutes after every meal.


  • Track actions: keep track of what’s working, what’s not, how you’re feeling in a spreadsheet or app.
  • Adjust what is needed to get to the desired outcome of reducing stress.

Then, repeat this system for every health challenge that you want to improve.

Over time, you’ll begin to determine what’s working for you and what’s not. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. In harmony, the strategies and tactics that are working will begin to, in this case, reduce stress because you’re eating nutritiously, exercising, more self-aware, meditating, etc.

This 3-step system guides you through defining awareness, management steps, and specific strategies such as nutrition, mental health fitness, meditation, and self-care activities for reducing stress.

This systematic approach aligns seamlessly with the visionary, strategic, and tactical facets of successful marketing work. Run this system through anything in your life, and you’ll realize that you can use your day skills to improve your health and well-being.

A thriving marketer leader

Marketing is a journey of perpetual adaptation, resilience, and, most importantly, self-care.

The truth becomes evident: when you, the marketing leader are healthy, your team thrives, and the business attains unprecedented heights of success.

Prioritizing your well-being creates a narrative that extends far beyond the metrics and strategies of the corporate world. You become a beacon of inspiration internally and externally. Your decisions, fueled by clarity and mindfulness, set the precedent for a work environment and culture of prosperity.

As the complexities of the marketing landscape continue to accelerate, the simple truth remains – personal health is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

It’s a journey of acknowledging the challenges, implementing proactive strategies, and recognizing that a healthy leader isn’t just an individual accomplishment; it’s a strategic imperative for the flourishing of teams and the endurance of businesses.

As you struggle with marketing career burnout, let one truth guide your way – thriving through health is not just a choice: it’s the essence of marketing leadership today. 

Sonia HuntSonia Hunt is a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, Executive and Health Coach, Best-Selling Author, and TEDx Speaker in Health and Wellness. Her mission is to create a world in which everyone can thrive by building a foundation of personal health and well-being. For business inquiries, email [email protected] or visit soniahunt.com

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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