Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Last week one of my speaking buddies shared a little video snippet of them leafing through some beautifully designed and printed worksheets to accompany their online programme. Bam, it hits me. Serious marketing FOMO (fear of missing out). If you do the marketing for your business, and also interact in the world, I’m betting this happens to you too. Here’s why I think it happens, and what to do about it.  ~ Bryony Thomas, Author | Watertight Marketing

If you are the person in a business responsible for the marketing it’s almost impossible that you don’t have periods of nagging doubt. We’re so bombarded by other people’s marketing, that it’s not uncommon to question what we’re doing ourselves. The inner voices will be saying:

  • We need to do what they’re doing because they’re more successful.
  • Our stuff looks rubbish compared to theirs.
  • They’re posting so much more often than us, we’re just not doing enough.
  • There’s that new thing (tech, channel, event, idea), we really should be part of it.
  • Thousands have done that course with the uber guru of the moment, we should do it too.
  • There’s some secret trick that others know and we don’t.
  • Their emails are longer than ours, I wonder if they know something I don’t.
  • We’re not up to date on all this, we can’t keep up with younger | older | bigger (delete as appropriate) teams.
  • They’ve got more budget than us, we can never compete.
  • And on, and on it goes.

Marketing FOMO and other gremlins

The doubts we get in our personal lives are doubts that manifest in our working lives too. The fear of missing out (FOMO) of some marketing tool, trick or secret is palpable – that’s the ‘they’re doing something that I’m not’ gremlin at work. Then there’s ‘they’re doing stuff better than me’, green-eyed gremlin. And, the ‘I’m doing this all wrong’ imposter syndrome stuff.

Let me tell you right here and now, that you’re not alone! I’ve worked in marketing for 25 years. I hold a CIM Diploma, an MBA, read more marketing books than I can count, and completed dozens of courses. I’ve generated literally tens of millions in sales with the marketing I’ve delivered. I’ve written a best selling book on it… and, yes, I hear these voices too.

Why do we doubt our marketing efforts?

If almost every marketer thinks this stuff, what causes it? Here’s why I think it happens:

  • It’s part of the human condition, so why wouldn’t it show up at work?!
  • We’re exposed to more marketing than ever before.
  • We’re (almost incessantly) sold the dream by marketing gurus for whom these voices are useful buttons to push.
  • We’re always a harsher critic of ourselves than others.
  • We don’t voice our doubts for fear of seeming like we’re no good at our jobs, so don’t realise how common it is.
  • We see the filtered confidence of others, not the doubts that they also have.
  • Awards and accolades are given for the stuff that worked, rather than for the countless mistakes people make too.

How can we increase our marketing confidence?

Take action: Part of growing in confidence is to make the choice to do so. It’s my belief that confidence is an act. That’s not to say I think you should fake it. What I mean is that it is an act of doing that brings confidence into being. You do it, then feel it – rather than feel it then do it. If you wait until you feel confident before doing stuff, you’ll never make great progress.

Find a peer group: Sounding this stuff out with people in a similar role to you is worth its weight in gold. Not only do you reassure yourself that others empathise, you benefit from the wisdom of their successes and mistakes, They also have that all-important external perspective… you might just find that that thing you were embarrassed to show them looks blinking marvellous from where they’re sitting.

Bend an expert ear: Finding an expert coach or mentor, particularly one who’s been around the block a few times, is enormously valuable. A bit of grey haired wisdom is worthwhile in almost every business context, not least marketing. They’re able to provide context and perspective from having seen many fads come and go, observed the re-labelling of old ideas into seemingly new inventions, and made plenty of mistakes (and masterstrokes) over the years.

Build healthy habits: Getting into a rhythm of key activities that ensure you plan, review and do with some consistency makes a huge difference. This means getting disciplined with your diary, agreeing to be held accountable, and carving out time to regularly recognise and celebrate what you have done.

Sequence your skills: Marketing, like any other living business discipline, has a combination of foundational and strategic knowledge, and up to the minute tactical skills. Make sure you invest in the foundations first – as knowing what buttons to press without knowing what to say is a fast route to a self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘not being good enough’.

Filter your feed: It’s good practice to track your competitors, but not to get obsessed or sidetracked by them. You have absolutely no idea whether that ad of theirs that you were drooling over actually performed for them. Don’t assume that just because they’re doing it, it’s a good idea. Be disciplined in reviewing competitor materials at set times, don’t let it drain your energy by drip feeding you daily FOMO fertiliser.

Out-think don’t out-spend: Know that there are marketers with zero budget who’ve achieved great things, and those with millions that flushed it down the drain. Budget is not the biggest factor in marketing success. Smart thinking is!

Make the right marketing happen

Every marketer doubts themselves from time to time. It’s exactly why I wrote the Watertight Marketing book – to give people the lenses to look at their marketing and make confident decisions.

Now, I want to get people together to be that peer group, to champion those good habits, to provide the skills training you really need, to act as the expert ear, and help you filter the noise and find your focus. Check out the Make Marketing Happen Club to see if you want to join us.

© Watertight Marketing Ltd

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.

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