Stress levels reaching boiling point for three-quarters of marketers

Last week, we held our sixth annual Tech Heads event at Asia House to reveal the findings of our survey into the hopes, fears and challenges of 200 B2B marketing and comms execs, and we discovered that they’re feeling over-worked and under-valued.

77% admitted to being stressed, 65% are more stressed than this time last year, and nearly two-thirds (61%) work more than their contracted hours on a regular basis. Basically, business is manic and they’re feeling breathless.

We discovered they’re also struggling with strategy, competitive pressures, internal priorities and coping with innovation. As planning cycles get shorter and long-term strategies become a thing of the past, marketing & comms execs are facing change from all directions.marketing chart

The changing marketing toolkit

Marketing & comms execs are torn between delivering on strategy and getting the day job done, whilst battling to cope in a changing world that’s in hyperdrive. 59% are having to become more creative and innovative in order to compete with other suppliers in the market, whilst 52% are having to get to grips with more areas of the business in order to be effective.

Unsurprisingly, their stresses are a reflection of the challenges their businesses face, with 61% saying their company doesn’t spend enough time thinking about the future or view marketing as strategic in its approach. We were quite surprised to discover that marketing is so undervalued in many B2B organisations, where it seems to be viewed as a tactical function.

Stop. Take a breath

Marketers need to get their breath back by becoming slicker, smarter and stronger through innovation, using available resources better, and renewing the focus on the customer. Over half (55%) of businesses say they need to get better at understanding their customers. Obsessing about the competition is stressful and won’t stop them disrupting you, so instead put your customers’ needs first.  

Marketers also have to understand as much about algorithms as they do about art in 2017. Marketing is becoming a technology-based discipline and skills in this area are becoming at least as important as creative skills.

Our survey was carried out by our in-house research unit, Loudhouse, in March 2017. 200 senior marketing and comms execs were surveyed, as well as 400 senior B2B buyers. Download The Breathless Business report in full here.