Almost Timely News: The Great Marketing Reboot (2022-10-02)

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What’s On My Mind: The Great Marketing Reboot

I was having a chat with a few professional friends recently about our shared experiences at conferences, at the way audiences were reacting to our content as professional speakers. Something really stood out that I thought I’d share and get your take on, see if you’re seeing the same thing.

The headline: it feels like marketing has rebooted.

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago after Content Marketing World and since then I’ve caught up with even more friends from events like Inbound, B2B exchange, and many others. We’re all seeing the same thing – the profession of marketing seems to have hit a hard reboot.

What does that mean? It means, in short, that a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge has just vaporized. There’s been so much churn, so much turnover these last two and a half years that the people sitting in the room with us as we’re onstage is a completely different crowd.

Part of that, undoubtedly, is a function of time. When you go to the same event year after year, you see some change but you see people year after year, so the change isn’t as abrupt. With some of these current in-person conferences, we haven’t gotten together in the same physical space in 3 years now, so of course there would be some change.

But I had a feeling it was bigger than that. Naturally, I turned to data to see if we could get a feel for just how much things have changed, and found it in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, this is obviously USA only, but I suspect it holds true for many places since we all experienced the same pandemic together:


Yeah. When you look at 2020 and beyond for professional services job churn, the train leaps off the rails. We’ve hired more in the last 2 1/2 years than ever before. We’ve separated more (quits + fires) in the last 2 1/2 years than ever before.

But the really telling line is that orange line – that’s the number of job openings. You can see that the pandemic utterly decimated the professional services workforce in March/April 2020 – and the pace of hiring has not kept up with the number of openings. Even with layoffs and a recession, there are still over 2 million professional services jobs left unfilled – and there’s a tremendous amount of churn. How do we know? The green line is hires. The red line is separations. We see they’re marching together, which means as fast as we’re hiring, people are leaving one way or another, too.

Now, that’s all professional services jobs, not just marketing. But it speaks to just how big a dislocation the early months of the pandemic was in its impact on marketing as well.

Which brings me back to the Great Rebooting of Marketing. What happens when there’s a big jobs dislocation? A bunch of very senior folks punch out and take retirement if they’re offered a good package. Those senior folks carry a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge. Then the hiring freezes come, so any attrition that occurs isn’t replaced – and when it is replaced, headcount tends to be more junior because junior folks cost less. By the time a company is ready to start hiring, they’ve lost their biggest reservoirs of knowledge and restaffed with new, fresh people. Those new, fresh people will bring new perspectives and new ideas, to be sure – but they will not have the benefit of large institutional knowledge reservoirs to draw on.

Which means that marketing in a company that’s done that is effectively starting over. You hire new content creators and SEO folks and they’ve got to skill up on your environment and probably the profession itself, especially if they’re fresh off the graduation stage. You have to inoculate them with your culture and dust off the knowledge repositories of the people whose positions they’ve filled, hoping against hope that someone left any kind of documentation behind. (and they usually haven’t, so you’re literally going to reinvent the wheel)

All this translates into who we’re meeting at conferences and events. We’re meeting the new crew, the new team at nearly every company. We’re meeting folks who are back to square one, back to the basics, back to needing to know how to do something before they can even consider what it is they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

In turn, if we’re running marketing, we’re restarting. Maybe you’re lucky and you’re a long-timer at your company – you can get the new folks up to speed more quickly. But if you’re one of the new folks, you’re probably experiencing less than optimal conditions for getting up to speed.

So here’s my unsolicited advice. If you’re a marketing manager, there’s never been a better time to start documenting what you do, why you do it, and how to do it at your company. As you can tell by the chart above, the level of instability in the job market isn’t going away soon – we have millions of unfilled jobs, which creates a lot of churn on its own as candidates can basically name their price and hop from job to job until they find what they like. And if you’re at a company that announces a hiring freeze, do anything and everything you possibly can to retain your people. Hiring freezes are arguably worse than layoffs because you slowly bleed to death as the remaining people inherit the remaining workload and burnout ramps up like crazy. Fire customers, beg, borrow, and borrow quietly any resources you can to keep your people around.

If you’re a marketing executor, a do-er of marketing, there’s also never been a better time to start writing your own marketing cookbook. Catalog your knowledge, what you know how to do, the systems you work with, all your capabilities so that as opportunities arise, you know deeply what you can bring to the table. The more detailed your personal cookbook of marketing, the faster you can get up to speed in any position by adapting your processes and procedures to your new company. And when instability hits that company, you just take your accrued knowledge and your cookbook and move to the next place that values what you’re capable of.

Finally, for those of us who market to marketers and serve marketers… as my friend, partner, and CEO Katie Robbert has been urging, it’s back to basics. Dust off the 101 and freshen it up. Help people with the how, so that you can better sell the what and the why – people who are too frazzled just trying to get things done have no interest in anything other than getting out of survival mode. The faster you help people out of survival mode, the faster you can start selling the big picture again.

Share With a Friend or Colleague

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend this week’s episode of So What, where we did an AI writing tool bakeoff.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.



Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers

I heard you loud and clear. On Slack, in surveys, at events, you’ve said you want one thing more than anything else: Google Analytics 4 training. I heard you, and I’ve got you covered. The new Trust Insights Google Analytics 4 For Marketers Course is the comprehensive training solution that will get you up to speed thoroughly in Google Analytics 4.

What makes this different than other training courses?

  • You’ll learn how Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio form the essential companion pieces to Google Analytics 4, and how to use them all together
  • You’ll learn how marketers specifically should use Google Analytics 4, including the new Explore Hub with real world applications and use cases
  • You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
  • You’ll even learn how to hire (or be hired) for Google Analytics 4 talent specifically, not just general Google Analytics
  • And finally, you’ll learn how to rearrange Google Analytics 4’s menus to be a lot more sensible because that bothers everyone

With more than 5 hours of content across 17 lessons, plus templates, spreadsheets, transcripts, and certificates of completion, you’ll master Google Analytics 4 in ways no other course can teach you.

Click/tap here to enroll today »

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Dealer’s Choice : Random Stuff

Advertisement: Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

If you’d like to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has set up a special portal, United24, to help make contributing easy. The effort to free Ukraine from Russia’s illegal invasion needs our ongoing support.

Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston
  • Heapcon, November 2022, Belgrade, Serbia

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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