INBOX INSIGHTS, May 15, 2024: Finding Your Why, Marketing Hiring Slump Continues

INBOX INSIGHTS: Finding Your Why, Marketing Hiring Slump Continues (5/15) :: View in browser

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Finding Your “Why” and Managing Expectations

Expectations are a funny thing. The ones we put on ourselves, and the ones that others put on us. It’s easy to fall into the trap of what we’re expected to do.

If you will, please indulge me for a moment, and then I’ll get to the point.

Last weekend, I celebrated my birthday. Every year, on my birthday, I make a wish for myself. This wish is an intention, something to help me keep growing. My wish for myself is to stop creating false expectations. To stop trying to meet the expectations of others. This was a result of a conversation with someone who said that what I was doing wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough; I wasn’t meeting the expectations that they had put on me. When I was younger, I would be spiraling, trying to figure out how to fix the situation. How to be more. How to do more. As an adult with a pretty good head on my shoulders, I know that I am doing enough. That the person who feels like I’m not enough is their expectation, not mine. And I don’t have to meet it.

Thanks for that; I wanted to give some context.

The point being, we, as humans, are under constant pressure to live up to expectations that have been put on us. Whether we put them there or someone else did, we feel like we’re constantly failing. We’re falling behind. There is pressure to keep grinding and do more.

Look at what’s happening with generative AI right now. The expectation is that if you’re not a power user, you’re behind.

But who is setting that expectation? Is it the narrative we’re telling ourselves? Are we feeling this pressure from our peers and competitors?

Generative AI is still dominating the conversation. It’s hard to escape. Generative AI has infiltrated just about every aspect of our lives. Does that mean that we have to take part?

Are we doing enough?

There is no right answer here. This is where expectations enter the conversation. There are two sets of expectations to pay attention to. Those that we put on ourselves, and those that others put on us.

You cannot control the expectations that others put on you. Sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear. But you can’t.

You can, however, control your own expectations. My good friend Donna Mostrom, a content writer, said, “So many people ask if I’m using AI for my writing. And yes, I am, but I don’t use it to write for me. Because it doesn’t fit my ‘why’.”

Donna points out that using generative AI does not fit her “why”. She asked herself, “Why am I using generative AI? What is the benefit?” She concluded that it was not the right solution to her problem. So, the expectations of using generative AI are coming from others, not her.

If you want to do something, like use generative AI, make sure you know why. This is true of any action you take in business and in life. A good place to start is the Trust Insights 5P Framework. This will help you understand your “why” and set expectations that you are in control of.

The 5Ps are Purpose, People, Process, Platform, and Performance. In this instance, finding your “why”, you want to spend the most time detailing out your purpose. Start with questions such as:

  • What is the problem I’m trying to solve?
  • What is the question I’m trying to answer?
  • Is this even something I want to do?

Start here. Do your answers speak to your needs, or the needs of someone else?

When generative AI first became publicly available, a lot of my clients said, “We have to use it!” But there was no clear “why”. When I asked more questions, the responses I received were all similar in theme. They wanted to stay competitive. They didn’t want to fall behind. They wanted to do what everyone else was doing. They felt that they would be expected to use it.

These responses are a good start, but they are not specific enough. This is the trap of false expectations. Dig deeper. If you want to stay competitive, what problem are you trying to solve? Are you losing clients? Is your revenue declining? If you don’t want to fall behind, what is the problem you’re trying to solve? Are your processes outdated? Does your team lack specific skills? If you are expected to use it, what problem are you being asked to solve?

Here’s my big caveat – you will always have expectations from others. If you work in a company or on a team where you are serving the needs of the business, you have expectations put on you. That’s normal. My point with this post is to remind you that you have some say in how deep you want to go.

Generative AI is the shiny object of the moment. The problem is that we already have so much on our plates; it feels like one more thing to do. Sure, it could help us find efficiencies and take some tasks away. But there is still a learning curve and onboarding that needs to happen.

This is why I want you to find your “why”. This is why I want you to understand where the expectations are coming from. AI is a great tool and a solid solution for many companies. However, it’s not going to be for everyone. It can also be a distraction. It can be a waste of resources and overcomplicate processes that were fine.

Challenge your expectations of why you’re using generative AI. Ask more questions of those who want you to integrate it. The tools are changing so rapidly; it’s easy to get swept away with the hype.

Start with your “why”. Is it a why you feel comfortable with? Is it a why you can build a process around? Is it a why you have the people for? Is it a why you can measure? Use the 5P Framework to help get at those answers. At the end of the day, all you can do is manage expectations.

How are you managing expectations? Reply to this email to tell me or come join the conversation in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, Katie and Chris provide a practical guide to prompt engineering. Learn how to approach prompt creation like software development, starting with thorough requirements gathering using the 5 P’s framework. Discover the power of the RACE framework (Role, Action, Context, Execute) for crafting effective prompts that produce high-quality outputs. Finally, understand the importance of incorporating feedback and refining your prompts over time to improve accuracy and efficiency.

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, by request from our friend Matt, we’re freshening up our employment data. Let’s take a look at open job positions to see how the economy is faring. To understand this, we’ll use data from via the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. All the data is benchmarked and indexed on February 2020, the month before the pandemic began.

First, let’s look at how the overall USA economy is faring:

FRED overall

What we see broadly is an ongoing slowing of open positions (the red line) over time, though overall demand is still above pre-pandemic baseline. However, the only sector of the 8 we examine regularly – management jobs – remains above baseline. The other sectors like banking, HR, IT, sales, software development, and marketing have all fallen below baseline.

If we zoom into the last 12 months, we can see things more clearly:

FRED 12 months

Since the beginning of the year, no sector is seeing any significant upticks in hiring, and even management has taken a fall in the last month.

Marketing in particular has had a rough ride; there was a brief upturn at the beginning of the year, but it has since slid to lows not seen since 2021.

Let’s keep our focus on marketing, but look internationally. What do we see around the world? Indeed provides data on 6 economies – Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the USA, and the UK.

FRED Marketing globally

Demand for marketers remains high in France and appears to be stabilizing in Australia. It’s dropping rapidly in Germany, and the remaining economies are showing significant decreases in demand, mirroring the USA.

What do we take from this information, in the big picture? The global demand for marketers has been on a decline since the over-correction in 2020-2022 when companies made wildly rash decisions (massive layoffs in 2020, overhiring in 2021-2022). That said, ideally marketing jobs should be hovering just slightly above baseline in an ideal economy, showing steady growth.

That is clearly not what the data shows.

So what? What do we do with this information? Companies still have to get marketing done, even if they’re not staffing it as well as they could be. If companies aren’t hiring, then employees are required to (I hate this management trope) do more with less.

One of the avenues for accomplishing this is generative AI, and according to the new 2024 Work Trends Index from Microsoft and LinkedIn, a stunning 75% of employees are using generative AI – with or without their companies’ approval. That in turn may be having a suppressive effect on hiring.

If you’re in a position where you need to produce more efficiencies, consider skilling up on generative AI. Not only will it help you in your current position, but according to the same report, 66% of corporate leaders say they wouldn’t hire key personnel without AI skills. In fact, in the report, 71% say they’d rather hire a less experienced candidate with AI skills than a more experienced candidate without them.

It’s still too early to clearly see the impact of AI on marketing hiring, but we can see from the big picture that demand for marketing talent is not on the rise. With such strong statements from leadership about the value of AI skills, now is the time to grow your skills even further.

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