Why Are Marketers Losing Confidence In Their Ability To Do Their Jobs?

Dave Morgan

Founder & CEO

Originally posted on MediaPost

MediaPost reported yesterday on the 2017 edition of the American Marketing Association’s Marketers Confidence Index. Apparently, marketers today are losing confidence in their ability to meet key goals, like reaching the right customers with their marketing efforts, or being able to understand or evaluate the ROI of their marketing plans. That’s in spite of the fact that they feel more confident overall.

Do I think the survey reflects reality? Yes, I do. Few marketers I talk to today believe they have more control over their plans, communications and results than they had yesterday. The pace of change from digital disruption is hitting them faster and faster — and digital change generally raise more questions about what they’re doing than it provides answers.

It’s critical that marketers and marketing organizations become more more skeptical, fact-demanding and scientific in their methods. That’s how their bosses and company owners operate: When they lose confidence in certain strategies or tools, they stop using them. Not so much marketers.

Still, most marketers seem to remain optimistic. They have to. Their job is to drive growth. Marketing is not a role for pessimists. Pessimism is a better trait in successful CFOs, COOs and investors — sometimes.

Still this reality isn’t exactly healthy for marketers and their businesses. If they’re losing confidence in the effectiveness of their marketing plans and capacity to drive ROI, both elements will suffer.

They also shouldn’t just be hopeful that things are going to work out if they keep doing what they’re doing (big assumption on my part). Hope is not a strategy.

It’s critical that marketers and marketing organizations become more more skeptical, fact-demanding and scientific in their methods. That’s how their bosses and company owners operate: When they lose confidence in certain strategies or tools, they stop using them. Not so much marketers. Too many operate on the 70-20-10 model for incremental optimization in marketing: plan 70% as you did last year; plan 20% to try improved versions of last year’s core; and allocate 10% to testing new things.

That method worked in an analog media and marketing landscape, when change met you head-on and arrived slowly. Not anymore. In the world when SnapChats, Ubers, Facebooks and Googles go from the dorm room to the public markets and hundred of millions of users in only a few years, incrementally doesn’t work anymore.

If you don’t have confidence in what you’re doing, you need to stop it. In this world, if the old strategies aren’t working, the majority of budgets and plans need to be harnessed to support new options.

Marketers that just try to test and test their way into the future, without committing themselves with confidence to new initiatives that work and scale, won’t be in the business long. Neither will their companies. Why are so many marketers losing confidence in their ability to do their jobs? Their jobs have changed and they haven’t – yet.