Independent journalist Julie Sturgeon asks the question: “Why do in-house marketers leave?” Julie further expands:
“I’m currently working on a piece exploring why in-store marketers have such a high turnover (gasp! people leave CPG positions? No way) Anyone here come from these ranks and want to talk about the factors/conditions driving the turnover rates? (P.S. I’m not referring to merchandisers – another route I tried gleaned responses about that career. I’m strictly talking about in-house brand marketers.)”
Anecdotally, I just had to send my .02 cents to Julie because I so totally get why a marketer would leave an in-house position. I certainly don’t pretend to know all the reasons but I can tell you from first-hand experience there are various factors, which include:
Brand management not taken seriously – Part I
You are the marketer. Your company has *the brand;* the brand YOU have been hired to protect and nurture. Yet the powers-that-be (and staff included) do everything possible to ruin their own brand. They change the proportions. They change coloring. They don’t care that the marketing collateral and business stationary all have different versions of *the brand.* And in speaking with others, they are still referring to an older version of the brand that was in use more than three years ago. How in the world can you market a brand credibly when your own inside team could give a flying tweet about their own identity? I’ve seen this way too often and it’s surely been the cause of much disappointment, prompting me to part ways and seek new in-house marketing challenges.
Brand management not taken seriously – Part II
How about when thy own managers ruin all your chances of positioning your brand competitively by stupidly tinkering with Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word to create “elite marketing collateral.” Puhleeze shoot me in the head but I am not joking here. This has really happened (sadly with more than one manager) and it inspired me to call in sick for the rest of the year. Read about one of these ghastly experiences here.
You are my marketing expert … SIKE!
Another golden reason for an in-house marketer to dream of the out-house, literally: Your boss, who’s NOT by any stretch of the imagination a savvy marketer, believes that he or she knows everything there is to know about marketing. So much so, in fact, that they begin to question why they need you around anyways since they make all the final marketing decisions and you ain’t squat anywayz but just a wasted paycheck. Yup. Seen this happen too. I mean, if you are going to hire an in-house marketing professional, give them the chance to be the in-house marketing professional you hired in the first place! Geesh!
The opposite game
And finally but by far the least, it’s the good old “opposite game” which seems to have derived by a powerful combination of the three reasons above. Since the boss thinks they are a marketing guru and since they think they have graphic design skill and since they think that they are brand management experts, they consistently propose, think, do and say everything just the opposite of you. Trust me. I can’t explain this phenomenon but it happens and it’s happened to me. When I was asked a question, no matter what the answer I gave, the boss would pick just the opposite. If I suggested an option or a solution or an idea, the boss would take 100% the opposite road, selecting something I had specifically recommended against.
Games, silly games! I have longed dreamed of a challenging, in-house marketing position where my fellow marketing team members and marketing senior management weren’t constantly trying to directly or indirectly screw things up. How can a professional in-house marketer take his or her job seriously when no one else seems to care about their own identity or marketing programs? And when they do care, even slightly, they are not receptive to new ideas and stick to the old stuff time and time again.
In a way, it makes me wonder about WHY hire in-house marketers in the first place if their input is not heeded or their advice is not considered. It just seems to me to be a wasted paycheck.
But most organizations can’t handle this type of honesty. I know of an in-house marketer *right now* who is ignored and overlooked in his organization. He sits at his desk each and every day waiting for the opportunity to bring creative marketing programs to life. But his ideas are repeatedly dismissed. And so there he sits, even as I type these very words, dreaming of leaving and I can’t blame the man. You can’t just sit there all day. I mean, you could but an ambitious person with marketing aspirations will not stay long in an underutilized and non-appreciated capacity.
I’m sure there are millions of different reasons others may have but these are the reasons I could certainly speak to and share. If only senior level folks would allow a talented in-house marketer to unleash their marketing power and have confidence in their capability, I think that would mitigate some of the exodus.