Do you know the signs and symptoms of marketing “overwhelm”?

Missed deadlines, campaigns that don’t come off, and an ever-growing list of tasks that just never happen are all symptoms of a marketing program that clearly needs some intervention.

If none of these indicators can be accurately attributed to your program, congratulations. You must have everything under control. Or do you?

The fact is that there are subtler signs of marketing “overwhelm” that can indicate your marketing program is one setback away from a crisis – even when everything seems to be moving in a positive direction. So once in a while, it’s worth your time to step back and ask yourself if any of the following sounds familiar:

It’s getting harder to come up with good ideas.

This time last year, you and your team rolled into every meeting with 20 viable ideas that were generated with what seemed like little effort. But lately, if you stop and think about it, it seems like the creative ideas don’t flow nearly as easily as they once did – and the prospect of having to come up with a new stuff seems exhausting, when it once seemed stimulating.

You never beat deadlines.

Just like it used to be easy to come up with great ideas, it used to be standard for you to get your monthly direct mail piece off to the printer a week before it needed to be there. In fact, you used to pride yourself on beating most of your deadlines. But these days you notice you’re working right up against most of them, and constantly turning things in at the last minute.

Your ROI for at least a few projects is dropping.

Your social media efforts, your quarterly after-hours networking events, or your pay-per-click advertising campaigns are still going strong – but lately, they don’t seem to be yielding the same results they once did.

You’re making more mistakes.

You’ve got a few long-standing projects that you once believed you could execute in your sleep without error – but lately you’ve noticed that mistakes which used to never happen are creeping in more frequently.

So what’s a secretly overwhelmed marketer to do?

First, ask yourself what’s causing the progressive lack of output. Is it subject matter fatigue or burnout, lack of bandwidth, or an increase in competing priorities, marketing or otherwise?

Once you’ve had an honest conversation with yourself about the root of the problem, you can in turn have a solutions-focused conversation with your boss about what comes next – hiring more help, taking a few vacation days, or shifting around some responsibilities.

When that happens, be sure and point out that you’re not implying that there are existing problems – but rather that you see signs that problems may be on the horizon if you don’t take corrective action.
That way, you’ll get the credit you deserve for being a smart strategist who knows how to deal with issues proactively – before they become crises.