10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes


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Man cowering in fear behind a blanket.

What are your most daunting and horrifying marketing fears?

Have you confronted them, or are they still lurking in the dark corners of your marketing mind?

The uncertainty of the pandemic has given rise to new fears for many, and brought out long-recessed ones for others.

Luckily with all of these fears come new opportunities for tackling them, learning more about ourselves, and perhaps even becoming better marketers in the process.

Let’s take a look at some of the top fears in marketing, including examples from some of our own team, and explore how you can take action to conquer your greatest marketing fears and turn them into 2021 successes.

1 — Fear of Boring and Losing Your Audience

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A top fear shared by many marketers is undoubtedly creating content that does nothing but bore your audience.

Especially among B2B marketers, the fear of producing dull and dry content is a valid concern, where many worry about how to bring life and energy to the latest whitepaper data or statistics.

Thankfully, the B2B marketing industry has undergone a significant sea change in recent times, as methods for infusing interactive and experiential elements, genuinely interesting storytelling, and the trustworthiness of expert industry influencers have proliferated — all methods you can incorporate into your own efforts to ditch the legacy of dusty old boring B2B.

Over the years we’ve written many articles about how B2B marketers can bring energy, inspiration, and genuine excitement to digital efforts, and here are just a few to help you overcome the fear of creating boring B2B content:

“B2B marketing has undergone a sea change in recent times, as methods for infusing interactive and experiential elements, storytelling, and the trustworthiness of expert industry influencers have proliferated.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

2 — Fear of Not Doing Enough & Being Unmotivated

As Tim Herrera, smarter living editor at The New York Times recently wrote in the piece “7 Months Into the Pandemic and I’m Losing Motivation. Help!”, now isn’t the time to pretend we’re living in normal times.

“Accepting that it’s OK to not feel as inspired as you did a year ago can help us adjust to this new way of life,” Herrera suggested.

Anxiety and stress can take a huge toll on productivity, so it’s important for marketers to reassess — daily or even hourly — just what progress and personal success are during a lengthy pandemic, and to define them in more forgiving and graceful ways during the pandemic.

During the pandemic some 23 percent of people across the world have turned to online communities for stress management, according to Facebook’s recently-released “Connected Convenience: How People Are Finding And Fostering Togetherness Online” report, which for marketers has given rise to newfound digital connection opportunities to reach audiences.

The fear of facing lost motivation and the decreased productivity that often follows is a significant challenge, however there are ways to start turning the table on them.

We should remind ourselves that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and that simply making it through a day can in its own way be the biggest victory we can hope for.

It can also be helpful to take stock of anything extra beyond the bare minimum that we’ve been able to accomplish during the day — even if it’s just one small task — to remind ourselves that we not only have the power to push on and survive the daily challenges of the global health crisis, but also the ability to perform in ways that may surprise us if we take the time to seek out and acknowledge them.

B2B marketers are a busy bunch, and while having a chock full or overbooked schedule can in some ways help us make it through the next day, it’s important to take care of our own needs — whether by boosting happiness hormones or through other methods — and to work in time for reflection, physical and creative activities, and other self-care elements that will help avoid marketing burnout as time passes.

“It’s important to take care of our own needs and work in time for reflection, physical and creative activities, and other self-care elements to help avoid marketing burnout as time passes.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

3 — Fear of Uncertainty

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During the pandemic the fear of uncertainty has affected us all. Most marketers are still dealing with the upheaval of remote work, and the uncertainty surrounding a future that remains more of a mystery than anyone would like can at times feel overwhelming.

This fear of uncertainty has played a part in a significant drop in confidence among corporate executives, according to Deloitte’s new Global Marketing Trends 2021 report, surveying over 400 global CMOs and other executives. From CEOs and CIOs to COOs and CMOs, confidence has understandably fallen during the pandemic.

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Marketing activities that boost trust can help overcome the confidence debt that has risen during the pandemic, such as those our CEO Lee Odden recently explored in “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience.”

To help face some of the fears surrounding remote work, we’ve also written several articles to assist you in turning those remote work challenges into newfound advantages, including my own “Day 4,777: Remote Work Tips From 13+ Years As A Distance Marketer.” Here are the others:

“Marketing activities that boost trust can help overcome the confidence debt that has risen during the pandemic.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

4 — Fear of Giving Away Your Secret Sauce Recipe

It’s not uncommon in the marketing world to face the fear of divulging what may appear to be too much information — to the point where you might think a client would simply be able to take your secret sauce recipe and create the same type of success that you have.

One of the greatest elements in both content marketing and B2B influencer marketing, however, is the expectation and respect of freely sharing helpful information.

Content marketing has been built on a foundation of giving away helpful information — whether in the form of writing or visual elements — which has undoubtedly been a primary reason why it’s become such a popular and successful method marketers use to connect with people.

B2B influencer marketing similarly counts among its core values the free exchange of expert insight and advice, which has likely contributed to a rise in the use of B2B influencer marketing among top brands, such as with our own clients Adobe, LinkedIn, AT&T, Dell, Oracle, and other top organizations.

Face the fear of giving away your secret sauce recipe by learning more about content marketing  — we have you covered with the following recent articles about the practice, and for learning more about the power of B2B influencer marketing a great starting point is our groundbreaking and authoritative 45-plus page 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.

“One of the greatest elements in both content marketing and B2B influencer marketing is the expectation and respect of freely sharing helpful information.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

5 — Fear of Oversharing or Under-Sharing

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I must be sharing too much content too often? But what if I’m not sharing nearly enough to be effective…

These common fears arise when marketers haven’t conducted tests to determine the sharing cadence that works best among a particular audience or on a specific social platform.

Although it can take time to fine-tune your social media sharing frequency, finding the cadence that best resonates with with your audience is well worth it to not only attract new followers but also keep existing fans.

In our informal poll asking B2B marketers their primary reason for unfollowing a brand, sharing too much content and irrelevant content were the top reasons aside from poor quality content.

LinkedIn Poll

Each year firms produce reports based on the examination of social publishing data in an attempt to pinpoint the top times to publish on various platforms, such as Sprout Social’s “How COVID-19 Has Changed Social Media Engagement,” and Hootsuite’s “The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.” This data can be helpful in developing your own plan, however it should be considered a starting off point rather than social posting gospel.

“Finding the social publishing cadence that best resonates with with your audience is well worth it to not only attract new followers but also keep existing fans.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

6 — Fear of Messaging That Appears Too Old or Too Young

Aside from our physical age, the messaging we create can be constructed in a vast range of tones, with only certain ones ringing true with your intended audience.

Many marketers are afraid of crafting messaging that goes too far in either direction — appearing to be made for much older audiences than intended, or taking on tones that make the content skew far too young.

You can help overcome this fear by learning more about your audience — who are they, what questions are they asking, and what tone will work the best when communicating with them?

Our “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers” shares many tools B2B marketers can use to uncover the questions people are asking, while our “5 Essential Questions to Guide Your B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy” explores how B2B influencer marketing can help connect with audiences, and in “Your B2B Marketing Book of Life: 10 Inspiring B2B Marketing Tips From Family History,” we take a family history themed look at getting to know your particular marketing audience.

7 — Fear of Aiming For the Stars

I can’t compete with that — it won top honors at Cannes!

The fear of aiming too high is another common one among marketers, as it can be daunting to contemplate going head to head with the very best marketing efforts the world has to offer.

Looking at examples of award-winning efforts, however, is a great way to help you dream big and see how brands are making their marketing dreams come true. Breaking down award-winning examples into bite-sized chunks — from start to finish — can help us see that even the greatest digital campaigns were formed by perfectly piecing together small elements that all work together in harmony.

In the following articles we’ve explored some top examples to help you conquer your fear of reaching for the marketing stars:

“Even the greatest digital marketing campaigns were formed by perfectly piecing together small elements that all work together in harmony.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

8 — Fear of Missing Deadlines

I need to put in a twenty hour day to be absolutely certain this project meets the deadline!”

The fear of being unable to meet deadlines can be daunting for many marketers, but doesn’t have to rule your professional life if you put your projects in order and implement scheduling touch points that keep things on track through the process, so those last minute surprises are few and far between.

Getting into good deadline scheduling habits that include plenty of built-in time for leeway needed to ward off last-minute chaos is well worth the effort.

Here are several articles we’ve written that will help overcome those efficiency and time management fears:

“Getting into good deadline scheduling habits that include plenty of built-in time for leeway needed to ward off last-minute chaos is well worth the effort.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

9 — Fear of Presenting New Ideas

Even if you never miss a deadline, many marketers face another fear that arises when plans abound and suggestions are plentiful — the fear of presenting new ideas.

Our own influencer marketing strategist Nic Michael has several tactics for facing and overcoming this widespread fear.

“One of my biggest marketing fears is presenting new ideas,” Nic shared.

“Whether an influencer list or a creative execution, I always fear that my client stakeholders will hate what I have done. Over time, I have realized that coming in with strategic thinking, enthusiasm, and confidence, makes presenting a much less stressful situation than it plays out in your head,” Nic observed.

Our own vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall takes a look at these and other methods for better marketing presentations in “How to Power Marketing Presentations With Data Visualization & Win Over Your Audience,” including helpful tips to overcome even the strongest fear of sharing new ideas.

10 — Fear of Missing New Industry Trends

Plenty of marketers also fear missing out on new industry trends, as keeping up with the swift twists and turns of today’s marketing scene — with mile-a-minute product launches, ever-new platforms, feature changes and additions — is not an easy task.

It can be done, however, as our director of search and analytics Seth Epstein explained.

“For a long time I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to stay up to date on everything I need to know to be relevant as a marketer,” Seth said.

“To overcome that, I’ve learned to focus on business goals and on understanding who potential customers are and what they want. Testing new strategies and tactics, and keeping up with trends becomes easier — and fun — when you’ve got confidence in your marketing foundations,” Seth observed.

One way to keep up on the latest B2B marketing industry trends is by following blogs such as our own, and by keeping up with our B2B Marketing News, which publishes every Friday.

Don’t Look Back At Your Marketing Fears

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Whether it’s the fears we’ve explored here or some of the many more marketers are facing today more than ever because of the pandemic, it’s important to move forward and not look back — like Count Orlok in F.W. Murnau’s fear-riddled Nosferatu — on the fears we’ve either already overcome or are working to face in our daily lives.

Facing our fears can make us better B2B marketers and in many aspects of our professional and personal lives as well, so I encourage you to use this first-ever Halloween pandemic season to take the methods and suggestions we’ve looked at to heart, and to create your own new form of fearless marketing and living.

Want further help facing your marketing fears? Contact us and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing.

 


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