Imposter Syndrome is real for Marketers: my personal experience


As featured on Business Magazine

To understand what it meant, I decided to first research about it and secondly, see the relation with my job; digital marketer.

Imposter Syndrome: a term that appeared very often on my feed lately.

In brief,

Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.

In short, you constantly feel not being enough, inferior, left behind from what is happening in your industry, and not fitting in.

I could easily make the connection with the day-to-day work of digital marketers.

So, how and why are marketers experiencing the Imposter Syndrome?

The following can be of interest to many current and aspiring marketers. If you are a current, this may be revealing, while if you are an aspiring marketer, you should be ready for what’s coming.

  1. Marketing is a highly competitive function coming with comparison. In fact, every campaign is measured, compared, benchmarked against what is being done in the industry. This in itself can lead to a feeling of inferiority, insecurity, and more; again fuelling the imposter syndrome.
  2. Also, digital marketing is a fast moving field. You constantly need to stay updated; the whole aspect of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is very real. Here I must add that sometimes, you can get easily swayed to imposter syndrome, when peers in the industry share screenshot of their ad account. You start to think you are less capable when seeing peers managing thousand dollars accounts.
  3. Digital Marketing includes a variety of niches and mastering all can be very challenging (if not impossible). This is something driven by the industry and companies hiring generalists at Junior level. The T-shape marketing career path is also encouraging imposter syndrome because it urges individuals and companies to push people to mastering all channels within a short delay.
  4. The sides effects of Imposter Syndrome are even worse. Burnout, lack of focus and motivation, not being able to plan things are few examples of these side-effects.
  5. The lack of understanding of what digital marketing is also contributes to the Imposter Syndrome. This one is by far the most common one among marketers. They constantly need to demonstrate their contribution to the firm (which is normal, yes. But needs to be done in a proper way) considering marketing being seen as a cost-center. This increase the insecurity of marketers and impact on confidence.

There are many more areas where marketers experience IS but I focused on these ones because I’ve been through them and I know it is very relevant for many.

Is Imposter Syndrome a good thing, nevertheless?

I would definitely say yes….and so by sharing my own experience.

When I started my career, I was amazed (if not excited) by the areas of digital marketing. I would try to learn everything at a go; going through e-learns, articles, slides and videos every single day.

While it helped me to progress in my career, it was also detrimental because it continuously raised the level and my expectations of myself. I would constantly feel the need to level up.

So, yes, imposter syndrome is good when managed properly.

Here are a few things you could do to manage Imposter Syndrome

  • Ask yourself about the motives behind you working hard. Is it driven by a bigger purpose or are you trying to fit in, prove something, or avoid the feel of unworthiness.
  • Set your own goals and track them. By doing this, you set your own path to success. Reward yourself on this journey and remind yourself why you are doing what you do.
  • Remind yourself that you are on a learning journey and you are not expected to be 100% effective.
  • Do not let achievements of others influence your own growth. Letting yourself influenced by the screenshots of ad accounts, achievements, or awards can make you doubt your own value and potential.
  • Stay focus – sometimes FOMO makes you do things that divert you from your vision. For example; if someone is sharing their new certification on LinkedIn, assess whether doing the same certification is relevant to you and your long term goals.

Do you agree?

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