As marketers, we deal with a lot of change. Seriously. The marketing world is exploding. We’re dealing with an explosion of touchpoints, channels and marketing technology.
We need to navigate creating more content, generating more leads and achieving more results. Even our customer buying process has changed. Our clients move deeper into their buying process before they need to engage our sales team or us. And, there’s more change inside our companies too.
Change is the New Normal
According to Adobe’s Digital Roadblock report, “64% of marketers expect their role to change over the next year, and over 81% expect changes over the next three years.”
A recent study from Econsultancy finds that the majority senior marketers believe the most important soft skill to develop is the “ability to embrace change.”
How Do I Respond?
How we respond to change affects our life personally and professionally. And yes, it does impact how effective we are at marketing and life.
The way I used to deal with change was just push through it by burying myself in work. The problem was that approach stopped working. I’ve learned you can’t hide feelings that come with stress. They leak out in unexpected ways like exhaustion, a short temper, and unexplained sadness. These are just a few ways that unexpressed emotions reveal themselves.
Here six ways I’ve learned to deal with change and help others do the same:
1. Remember that attitude is everything
Managing change starts with your thinking. If you change how you think and what you’re focusing on, you’ll change how you feel and what actions you take. Consider this statement from Charles Swindoll, “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” You’ll have a better attitude when you take care of yourself. Another way to help you attitude is to look at your body language. Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on body language.
2. Be more reflective
Try fitting in 15 minutes of reflection to the end of your day. It makes you more productive. Harvard Business School psychologist Francesca Gino researched meditation and showed employees taking just 15 minutes to write and reflect at the end of the day performed 22.8% percent better than those who didn’t.
Researcher Brene Brown teaches if you don’t allow yourself to feel strong feelings, you can’t feel the good ones. And The more you experience your emotions, the more empathy you have for others. Empathy is the essence of customer first marketing.
But you can’t be empathetic toward others without being empathetic toward yourself first. Facing change head-on is the ultimate exercise in developing empathy. Try Expressive Writing. The benefits are enormous.
3. Get support and be open to asking for help
Surround yourself with encouraging people. This list will include friends, mentors, coaches or qualified therapists who can help coach you. And ask for help when you need it.
4. Take care of yourself
It’s hard to be available to the other people who matter in our lives unless we take care of ourselves. When we give 110% (i.e. more than we have) and never take the time to replenish and rest, we end up depleted. I’ve made it a special point to eat and sleep well, and get enough exercise – it’s the best mood enhancer. Recently, I’ve been learning meditation: sitting quietly and breathing deeply. It’s a challenge for a person like me who measures progress through productivity. But, meditation provides a sense of peace and mindfulness that productivity alone can’t begin to touch.
5. Develop a clear vision
There’s an old proverb that says “without vision, my people perish.” Your company needs you and your marketing leadership more than ever. Work to define a picture of yourself, your team, and organization. What’s your personal mission statement? How will you serve your customers? Focus on what you can do to navigate changes. What are the new roles that you’ll need to play to help your organization adapt? Here’s a helpful post from HBR.com on how to develop a shared purpose.
6. Get comfortable that change will happen to you
This step requires accepting what is and being present in the now. We’re deluded if we think that everything is going to be the same tomorrow as it is today – change can happen in a split second. If you know change is coming, consider it a privilege. Too many people don’t have that luxury. Help your team prepare that change is here, and it’s coming, and it’s inevitable.
I hope this helped you get some ideas on how to deal with change to help you be more effective and marketing and life. What’s worked for you?
Brian, it’s been a long time…I’m still reading! This post really resonated with me personally but also because I feel like the productivity driven culture that is eating marketing needs to be balanced with a culture of CREATIVITY. I’m struggling with that balance in addition trying to stay on top of all of the industry change while understanding what specific changes need to be made, by me, at a departmental level.
Thanks for the recommendations… the balance really resonates and it’s good to see proof that the struggle is both real and something that is found in other marketing departments.
Herb, thank you for still reading and sharing 🙂 I don’t know about you but I haven’t met any marketers who get a change to stop, think and reflect regularly. But when they do get that time to think, that’s when the magic happens. It’s hard because we’re all so go-go crazy busy. The struggle is real and I’m learning right with you.
I add: “Don’t follow the herd.” I am a fan of Account-based Marketing, but I was recently at an event where a company’s Director of Marketing was talking about the success she was having with ABM. She said it was great and everybody loved it. Someone asked about tangible results. She said “oh, it is too early for results.”
In my opinion, marketers are great at jumping on the bandwagon. That is why, again in my opinion, there is an over-emphasis on IT based ABM and not enough emphasis on culling out a market and relentlessly working that market.
It is easy to follow the herd, but there are more rewards for doing the right thing, not the thing that everyone else is doing.
There is nothing more stressful than following the herd until you notice that the herd is falling off a cliff.
Dan, thanks for reading. I don’t disagree. It takes grit and fortitude to stay true to yourself and follow your own path. But it’s hard to do when the crowd is going a different direction. It feels safer to follow a well-worn path but it’s not always best or safe.
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