Eyes Open. Wide Awake. Never Close Our Eyes. These are all names of popular songs on the hit charts today. But they also remind me of the roused and restless state marketers are in right now, and how they are dealing with the pressures of being a 21st century marketer.
I was driving two teens to high school this morning – my daughter and a neighbor boy – with Sirius XM Hits 1 playing on the radio as usual (I’m a bit of a pop music junkie!). I heard Katy Perry’s new single Wide Awake for the first time and I thought, “Haven’t I heard these lyrics before? Like, a LOT?” It then occurred to me that this is for some reason a common theme for songs on the charts today.
When I mentioned my profound analysis of the hit music charts to my passengers, naming all the songs I could think of – Taylor Swift’s Eyes Open (from the movie, The Hunger Games), Adam Lambert’s new single Never Close our Eyes, Gotye’s Eyes Wide Open and now Katy Perry’s Wide Awake, the 17-year-old neighbor said without missing a beat, “Yeah, seems like we’re a generation of insomniacs!” Being the vigilant parent I strive to be, I then launched into a discussion about how bad that actually is for teens, and all generations for that matter. I cited research that says getting enough sleep is among the most important things we humans can do for our health – both physical health and mental health. In true teen form, though, my daughter immediately (politely, thankfully) dismissed this, saying getting enough sleep was not an option in her and her friends’ multi-modal, always-on, so-much-to-do lives.
That sounded familiar to me, too. Ah, right. It’s the recurrent refrain of my marketer and CMO friends and colleagues. “It’s just so hard to keep up,” they say.
Marketers at all levels, too, are dealing with a multi-modal, always-on, so-much-to-do existence. This means they also have to have their eyes wide open at ALL times, or so they think. If they close their eyes even just for a second, it seems yet another social media tool has emerged, Google has introduced a new search algorithm, or yesterday’s best practices have suddenly become bad practices!
As with teens, it’s easy for marketers to just try to keep going like the Energizer Bunny (dang, that was a memorable campaign!). Today’s marketing environment is challenging, fast moving and marked with high pressure, yes. Yet as we all know, not “sleeping” is not a good thing. You lose perspective, you de-focus, you make mistakes, and worse, you burn out. Marketers really need to ignore their impulse as well as the advice of the recent pop hits if they are to build successful careers, drive the growth their CEOs demand, retain their energy, and stay sane in the process.
To stop the madness, dare to CLOSE your eyes (figuratively, at least!) and get a sense of what is important. Ask yourself, “What am I really trying to accomplish here? What do I need to focus on to achieve my company’s goals and the goals I’ve set out for myself?” Once again centered in your purpose, you, as a marketer can make better decisions for yourself and your company.
And remember, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger (Kelly Clarkson).