Challenges of working in marketing

This post is out of the norm for the blog as I always try to steer clear of work related rants. But I guess this falls into the mumbling segment on my blog and with a series of issues faced at work recently, I feel compelled to write this.

It started with this article. It say's Marketing, PR and Communications positions fall into the top 5 hardest jobs to fill in Singapore. 

I pondered over this little bit. It was initially surprising to me. This year marks my 10th year in marketing related roles. And over these 10 years, there were never short of people coming to tell me they want to join the marketing team. 

I was never really sure why. Perhaps it is the "glitz & glamour" portrayed in the end products of what we do. Perhaps it is the fun stuff we are seen doing, or all that media we need to handle. So, logically, with so many people wanting to be part of the "marketing" action, why is it then hard to hire people. 

Well, if I may say, we don't lack enthusiastic aspiring marketers. However, with the changing demands of what's expected of marketing and comms folks, it becomes hard to keep up. Not forgetting that technology is constantly evolving, marketers don't do traditional work of just advertising and promotions or communications any more. New marketers are expected to have 360 knowledge of the tools to help facilitate integrated communications and marketing. 

Gradually enthusiasm dies off when the pressure increases. Turnover then becomes high, making it difficult to find experienced and competent people to fill these jobs. 

Can I also add how thankless the job of a marketer is? 

We work hours at length writing copies, brainstorming concepts, linking plans with all possible channels of communications, working with agencies, and in the case of digital marketing, we test, re-test, double, triple test solutions just so we help various internal stakeholders meet their objectives. 

However, when an event goes well, the credit goes to the event manager (not the marketing and comms people who were key in birthing the whole overall brand experience). 

When sales targets are met because of a marketing campaign, the credit goes to the sales team (not the marketing and comms team who worked hard at ensuring the marketing messages are compelling). 

When a project successfully takes off and yields great results, the credit goes to the project manager (and once again, not the marketing folks who worked hard at ensuring all the communications of the said project makes perfect sense to the stakeholders). 

In some organisations I have worked at, when things go wrong, fingers get pointed at the marketing folks very quickly akin to us being made scapegoats for non-performance of the other departments. 

While I have no intention to glorify our jobs, I always tell people around me to stop and be more considerate to their marketing teams. While they leave office, and spend time with their families, many marketing teams are still hard at work ensuring we deliver on our promises on time. 


On the average, I take work home to do almost every other day because I need to juggle the demands of running a marketing team and that of a family. My team members work late in the office at least 2 times a week. There is never really a down time for us because we support every other department in the organisation. 

So, to be really candid, what I hate is to hear things like " Marketing can do it very quickly, It is very easy..." , with absolutely no consideration that there's already probably a full list of "urgent" requests from other teams. 


Do I feel discouraged being  a marketer? Yes, sometimes. 

Does this mean I dislike my job? 

Absolutely not. The reason why I survived doing this for 10 years is because the evolving demands and trends of marketing has made my career a constant learning journey. I don't think I have grown sick of Marketing and Communications. But, my hope is that non-marketers will show that little bit of grace to those who work hard to ensure they succeed. 

And, to my fellow marketers, I think we are a pretty awesome bunch despite needing to be nasty. It is called protecting our trade.