B2B marketers are a special breed: We’re relentlessly self-improving.
We look to our industry peers and thought leaders for wisdom. We scour data for opportunities and insight. We keep tabs on rising trends and emerging tools. We tirelessly strive to adapt our strategies to the evolving needs of our customers and prospects.
Without a doubt, we’re ambitious. But despite that ambition, we’re only human. Fear can easily creep in—which can become a helpful tool or a crippling bad habit.
Fear is the most natural human emotion in my opinion. The presence of fear in our marketing minds not only signals self- and spatial-awareness, but also benevolence. We deeply care about what we do and who (i.e. our brands, co-workers, and buyers) we serve, and we want to do our absolute best to drive results and offer solutions.
With the right focus, fear can be an unexpected ally. But the problem is that fear lurks everywhere.
A recent survey by Workfront and MarTech Today specifically asked marketing operations leaders about their top fears. The largest percentage (nearly a quarter of respondents) said having someone publically point out in a discrepancy in a report as a top fear. Coming in second with 20% of the vote was fear of not being able to prove their own or their team’s value.
I’d wager that an expanded survey would likely reveal other terrifying scenarios such as discussing poor results, getting budget or strategic buy-in, trying and potentially failing at a new content type—and the list goes on.
Now, while the report overall aimed to provide insight into the workplace challenges marketers face as data and technology drive change, this particular section provides a glimpse into how fear can manifest on both grand and granular scales within our psyches.
Of course, in addition to being the most natural human emotion, fear is perhaps the most powerful, too. So, how do you wield your fears for good?
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received on this front came from comedian and seasoned B2B marketer, Tim Washer.
“[Marketers need to stop] letting fear have too much influence over their decisions—and dropping this habit certainly requires some deep personal reflection,” he told me.
Truth. So, where do you start? With the first step.
“Ask yourself how does fear hold me back in my job? Is it a risk-averse boss? Is it fear of failure?”
And here’s the kicker:
“You need to figure out how fear is impacting you right now, in this very moment. Then you can start to find solutions to work around it.”You need to figure out how fear is impacting you right now, in this very moment. Then you can start to find solutions to work around it. @timwasher Click To Tweet
From my perspective, mastering this in-the-moment-recognition can be the difference maker on whether you can use fear as a driver rather than a deterrent.
Becoming the Master of Your Fears
Marketers: Whatever it is that keeps you up at night, remember that fear comes with the territory.
We all have our dark and stormy moments. Not only do we face an increasingly challenging and complex industry landscape, but we also face increasing pressure from our companies, buyers, and ourselves to be the best.
When we recognize and embrace our fears, we can do amazing things. When harnessed for good, our fear help us see innovation possibilities. It can encourage us to place smart bets or take on a risk or two. It can strengthen our resolve and ambition.
But when fear takes over as the primary decision-making factor—or leads to indecision—that’s when problems arise. We get restless. We lose confidence. We lose our luster for innovation. And honestly, we fear and worry more, and fear becomes a crippling habit.
So, for anyone out there who needs to hear this right now: You got this.
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