Marketing Burnout

Marketing burnout is a significant workplace challenge affecting countless professionals daily. With the relentless pace of campaigns, the constant need for innovation, and the pressure to deliver results, marketing professionals often find themselves at the brink of exhaustion. This intense work environment can lead to decreased personal well-being and job performance.

Recent studies shed light on just how pervasive this issue is. Almost three-fifths (57%) of marketing professionals aged 25 to 34 are concerned that they may burn out in their current role. (Marketing Week).

In this article, we will dive into the signs of burnout, its underlying causes, how it’s shaping the marketing landscape and what you can do about it. As we unpack the statistics and stories, the urgency of addressing this crisis becomes clear for the health of employees and the sustainability of the industry itself.

Identifying the Signs of Burnout in Marketing Professionals

Recognising the early signs of burnout among marketing professionals can be the key to preventing a full-blown crisis. Often, the fast-paced nature of the industry masks these symptoms until they become severe.

Persistent Exhaustion: This isn’t just about being tired after a long day; it’s a deep, chronic fatigue that doesn’t go away with rest.

Decreased Motivation: Passion is a hallmark of marketing professionals, but burnout can make even the most dedicated marketer feel disinterested and unmotivated about projects that once excited them.

Irritability and Frustration: Increased irritability can indicate burnout, especially over minor issues. This often stems from feeling overwhelmed and unsupported.

Cognitive Difficulties: Trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions are cognitive signs of burnout. These symptoms can significantly impair a marketer’s ability to strategise and innovate.

Emotional Withdrawal: Burnout can cause marketers to withdraw from colleagues and clients, causing them to show less empathy and engagement in their interactions.

Physical Symptoms: Headaches, muscle pain, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns are common physical manifestations of prolonged stress and burnout. (Talk to your team regularly to see how they’re doing)!

Very often we’re called in at the point of burnout – perhaps an employee has gone off sick, perhaps they’ve reached their limit and handed their notice in and at this point the need is very very immediate. However where Brand Champions have been able to get in earlier to the process helping to lift weight sooner and giving them time to prioritise, look at the bigger picture or another point of view, this can be far more effective for clients to retain staff and support their needs.

The Employment Gap: Analysing the Current Market Conditions

There’s a skill gap in marketing. Over a third (36.9%) say data and analytics is the biggest skills gap within their team. This figure is up from 34.4% in 2023. A further 19.6% say performance marketing is a major skills gap in their team, up from 18.7% who highlighted the same issue last year. 18.1% of respondents note a gap in content and copywriting skills within marketing. Some 14.8% of respondents believe a lack of social media skills is an issue in their team. (Marketing Week).

Yet, 45% of these marketers reported that their company has yet to look to outsource this skill gap to an agency that could help prevent burnout and shortages.

Exploring the Causes of Rising Burnout in Marketing

The rise of burnout in the marketing industry is closely linked to several high-pressure factors. At the core, the drive to stay continually engaged and innovative amidst rapidly changing trends places a heavy load on marketers. This relentless push can lead to stress and eventual burnout.

Digital overload is a significant contributor. In today’s hyper-connected world, marketers are expected to be on call, reacting in real-time to global trends, social media buzz, and consumer or client feedback. This constant connectivity leaves little room for downtime, making it difficult for professionals to ‘switch off’ and recover from the day-to-day demands.

Additionally, the pressure to meet quantifiable targets and analytics can create a pervasive sense of never doing enough, further escalating stress levels. These pressures combine to make burnout very likely for many in the field.

A study by Runn found that 69.9% of those in marketing become burnt out. Marketing is one of the top industries for burnout.

Introduction to SOS Marketing: A New Paradigm

Recognising burnout is all well and good, but the most important steps are to prevent it or support members when they are burnt out.

SOS Marketing services are designed to offer immediate relief to marketing teams in distress. Whether grappling with burnout, facing staff shortages, or needing extra hands on a critical campaign, an SOS Marketing agency is equipped to step in swiftly and effectively, sometimes as soon as the next day.

This approach differs from traditional marketing strategies, typically involving long-term engagements and gradual integration with existing teams. Instead, SOS Marketing focuses on rapid deployment and flexible support tailored to meet specific needs at critical moments. This can include anything from executing strategic initiatives to providing creative input or managing entire projects.

By offering such direct and timely intervention, SOS Marketing services act as a lifeline, ensuring that marketing departments can maintain momentum without sacrificing quality or overtaxing their resources. This model helps stabilise operations during peak demand and protects the core team’s well-being, promoting a healthier, more sustainable work environment.

How SOS Marketing Services Work

Recently we have been called in to a major high street restaurant chain to support their changing workloads and team adjustments. We were briefed on our first SOS project with the client, on Thursday and started the following week. The team started with an intense two days onboarding to get fully up to speed on the business, projects and team structures and contacts.  Two members of the Brand Champions team are always briefed making sure the client is never left exposed if someone is off sick. They then immediately spring into action to write deliverables for the projects, timelines, core deliverables and get to work. They join team meetings, update meetings and report weekly to the client on what they’re working on. This is how it could work for marketing teams.

The Future of Marketing: Sustainable Practices and Employee Wellbeing

Looking ahead, we can expect more companies to adopt proactive measures, such as partnering with SOS Marketing Agencies. Having an SOS team on call can be a game-changer, especially in critical situations like covering employment gaps, handling maternity leaves, or managing sudden project upticks. This approach ensures that businesses are always prepared, reducing the strain on permanent staff and keeping productivity high without compromising quality.

Leaders in the industry are beginning to see SOS marketing services not just as an emergency measure but as a foundational strategy. Regular use of such services can help maintain balance in the workplace, allowing companies to manage workload spikes efficiently while safeguarding their team’s mental health. This evolution in marketing practices promises to enhance the sustainability of business operations and forge a path towards a healthier, more resilient marketing profession.

Fiona Wylie
Fiona Wylie
Founder at Brand Champions

Fiona has over two decades of professional experience, collaborating with renowned brands like British Airways, Nestle, and Pfizer. Recognised as a 'Rising Star' by Marketing Week and a recipient of multiple innovation awards, she founded Brand Champions in 2018. Her agency specialises in Strategy, SOS, and Skills, assisting clients with strategic initiatives, short-term resource challenges, and in-house development. Fiona is dedicated to helping others build champion brands through the comprehensive services offered by Brand Champions.