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Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't - It Totally Sucks to be a Marketer Right Now

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

A note from a nonessential worker... our Co-CEO Constance A. Dunn

I am an owner and founder of a marketing company and painfully aware of how nonessential I have become. Our company's specialization is the hospitality and travel sector. So, I have no beef with the clients that were forced to cancel contracts with us. They are hurting. We gladly gave away services during shutdowns, but not many clients kept their doors open long enough to need us anyway. That's just the way the cookie crumbled in the 2020. Leaving a big, sticky mess all over the proverbial floor of the economy.

And yet... we are getting calls and new clients... mostly desperate small businesses. These stalwart entrepreneurs have lassoed their business with a sturdy rope of government funds and are dragging them out of the quicksand through sheer force of will. They WANT campaigns! They BELIEVE in the American consumer! They are PIVOTING! They want a FUTURE! And they want us to let the world know.

Gosh, I am grateful for their trust and support, especially now. But man, is it hard to muster the creative juices.

This is probably the last thing that you want to do right now, but if you scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook and see a sponsored post about a luxury spa sandwiched between a post about covid-19 spikes and protests, how do you feel about that spa? What is your knee-jerk reaction?

What it feels like to launch a campaign during a pandemic and protests...

At best, I feel pity. They too are a struggling business trying to make the best of things by attracting future appointments or selling products online. But what is a marketer to do when their own business has employees to pay, and said spa calls up asking to pay for their skills. I'll tell you what the marketer does - they take the job.

Sure, it's painful to see tone deaf content online from businesses. But it's also painful to open my inbox daily and see inquiries from talented designers, writers, and entrepreneurs looking for jobs... "can start immediately."

In our industry clients are referred to as partners. That term has a cozy sound to it and gives the impression that we move as one unit towards a shared vision on equal terms. I've long thought to refer to a vendor as a partner is wordplay that makes it seem like a more equitable relationship for the sake of professionalism. But anyhoo... that's another article all together.

As a marketer... as your true partner, I implore all business owners and executive leaders - think before you send out that messaging, think before you commit to silence, think before you place an ad. Think deeply about it. People tend to look back on the darker times in their lives with more clarity than the good times. It is when they learn important lessons that help protect them later in life. What will they learn about your business that may turn into a lesson later?

Forcing positivity on my team right now would be eye roll inducing. So to all marketers out there, I empathize with you. We all started the year strong and none of us could have seen this coming. While our social listening is turned to eleven, our bank accounts creep to zero. We're all at the bar in Sucksville together - mask donned and existentialism rife.

Now, let's get back to work.

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