As I scroll through my Instagram feed, or catchup with Snaps from marketers on Snapchat, I often think ‘wow, these guys do so much awesome stuff’; travel, lunches, mega-conferences and a lot of jogging. My next thought goes along the lines of ‘why isn’t my marketing life just like that?’. I’m either not doing it properly, or just don’t make enough money/have enough time to be able to spend my time on social painting a picture of a sexy life of marketing-based adventure.

It’s just not authentic

The fact is that in 98% of cases, a career in marketing isn’t as sexy as it’s perceived to be, or at least falsely engineered to look that way. Two things:

1 – I hate the use of the word ‘sexy’ in this context. I struggled to find an alternative that describes the impression being created by some marketers.

2 – That 98% is not scientific, but matches the experience the oodles of other marketers I know.

Marketing is a tough career

When you’re the ‘tip of the spear’ i.e. without you, businesses will ultimately fail or at least struggle to grow, it’s not easy. Expectations from the c-suite, the sales team, your clients etc are huge, while budgets are often low. Couple that with the fact that ‘the game’ changes on what at times feels like a daily basis and things are rarely straightforward.

Same s***, different day

Copy writing, planning, strategy writing, persona creation etc etc. Oh and analysis and reporting, don’t forget about that. In fact, more than 30% of marketers that answered my Twitter poll stated that they spend more than half of their time analysing, and acting on data:


Writing! Timelines! Numbers! Yuck. Who the hell would want to do that?

Actually, me

Despite the fact that I do not live the caviar gobbling, champagne quaffing marketing lifestyle that the fortunate few or people that are kidding themselves on live, I love what I do. It’s a great career. Hard? Yes! Most jobs are. Repetitive? Of course! But repetition is only horrible if you hate the things you’re doing over and over. What is my point here? That I’m a freak who hearts his job? No actually.


My typical lunch

My point is that you can vlog your marketing life, Snapchat the hell out of it and tweet the masses with a fluffy, sugar-coated impression of the industry as much as you want, but the truth is, you probably aren’t experiencing the real thing. Or, when you get home at the end of the day, you spend all night crunching data.Probably not though.

Maybe you’re actually not making a success of anything and social media fairytales are your shield? Playing marketer? Just like so many play ‘entreprenuer’.

You may be reading this and be thinking – ‘yeah, but Mike, you use Snapchat to talk about your work, you do it on Twitter too!’. Yes I do. However, there’s a reason why my Snaps often die off for a day or two – I just don’t have anything that exciting to show people at times. Those are the days when I’m in the weeds, making things actually happen. It’s not sexy. It is mighty satisfying though.

So, cut the s*** and start being real. It’ll pay dividends in the future. Am I wrong? Leave a comment or tweet me @mike_mcgrail!


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