The Gut-Check Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves as Marketers

shutterstock_278222795I have long argued that the minute our job as marketers starts to feel easy, we are not doing enough as professionals. And I stand by that claim. After all, being a marketer—especially in this day and age—is anything but easy.

We have to build integrated marketing plans; craft buyer personas to target our prospective customers more meaningfully; write A LOT of content that incites emotion and drives behavior; and understand how data and metrics fuel marketing decisions. It’s no wonder that the average tenure for a CMO is 48 months, according to executive-search firm Spencer Stuart.

So the minute we start breathing easy, or find ample time in our day to take a lunch break, is the moment we need to ask ourselves the following gut questions:

  1. Have I—and The Brand—Become Complacent?: Sure marketing can run like a well-oiled machine when you have effective leadership and proven SOPs in place. But just because processes get easier does not mean our job as marketers should. Conversely, once the day-to-day tasks run seamlessly, we have more time at our disposal to focus on brand transformation. If your job starts to feel breezy—a tell-tale sign that you have most likely mastered certain processes—challenge yourself to take everything to the next level. For instance, is your brand blogging every other day? If it is, now’s the time to work on influencer outreach and get your bloggers featured on third-party sites. Are your SEO rankings increasing? Great! It’s an ideal moment to see if you can make a play for some new long-tail keywords.
  2. Am I Reading Enough?: As someone who has chosen a career in marketing, hopefully you have an affinity for word-smithing and are a sponge of new information. As marketers, we have to keep our minds fresh and the only way to do that is to spend time reading—be it blogs written by leading marketing gurus or fiction novels written by our favorite authors. So this month, allocate 15 minutes each morning to reading some of the top stories in the marketing landscape. As a bonus, carve out an hour each night to read a piece of literary work to help you decompress. The more that pointed vocabulary words, impressive syntax and compelling narratives are circling your head, the more likely you are to reignite your creative sparks.
  3. Do I Lack Certain Skill Sets?: The top marketers out there (think Joe Pulizzi, Michael Brenner, Ann Handley) have many traits in common, including the fact that they are life-long learners. So take cues from their journeys. Do a quick gut-check of the skill sets you need to sharpen. For some people, that may be getting a firmer grasp on how to use the widgets and functionalities in certain content management systems to get more eyeballs on their blogging platform. Another marketer may be struggling with how to find influencers that can become brand proponents. Be honest in your self assessment when it comes to the skills you need to sharpen. I’ll go first… I need to get more familiar with how to use marketing automation software. Now it’s your turn…

As a marketer, I ask myself questions every day, from how can I be more strategic and intentional with my marketing efforts to how can I find inspiration when I feel like I’ve hit a writing road block. So try this exercise and ask yourself these gut-check questions. You may be surprised at the answers you arrive at when you break down your walls and embrace full honesty.

Carrie-SDubbed a “Chatty Cathy” from the time she uttered her first word, Content Boost’s Director of Content Marketing Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) is nothing short of verbal. Her love of talking matured into love of writing which inevitably transformed into a love of marketing. Carrie is responsible for overseeing the cutting-edge content marketing beast that is Content Boost—managing brand and editorial strategy, fostering client relationships, identifying new revenue opportunities and striking strategic partnerships. Carrie has worked with a variety of high profile clients on branding and copy creation from Sprint to Panasonic to AT&T to Emerson Network Power. When she’s not busy wordsmithing and debating content marketing versus traditional marketing, you can find her working on her swag in a hip-hop dance class, clogging her DVR with “Friends” reruns and trying desperately to make it up past 9:30 pm on the weekends with her hubby. #OldSoul.