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The Marketer’s Curse

The concept of work/life balance has helped many individuals advance their careers while maintaining their health, family and leisure. We’ve all heard horror stories about extreme work/life imbalance. What may be less familiar are situations when balance is prevented not by outside forces (insane workloads, heartless bosses), but our own mindsets. What happens when your brain becomes entrenched in “career mode”?

Marketers are prime victims of this curse. Every leisure activity risks making our heads spin with inspiration and curiosity. Experiences designed to take our minds off work only stimulate the marketer’s mind, leading us to analyze exactly what we are seeing.

For example, reading a magazine or sitting through a round of commercials provokes nearly irresistible temptation to pick apart all aspects of the creative team’s execution. Sorting through junk mail or scrolling through the email spam box becomes a mental tug-of-war, with one side urging a quick dismissal, and the other assessing elements like messaging, layout, imagery, offers, etc. And sometimes, you can’t even escape in your car. Spotting a billboard with poor design and an irrelevant call to action can seriously ruin a commute.

Marketers are constantly working to get into the minds of clients and consumers, but in reality, we’re inevitably our own best audience. We’re both helpless and immune to the effects of marketing; we can’t help but notice and engage—and often react and respond. Some consider this a curse; I call it lifestyle. If we embrace the “curse” it quickly loses its sting, and it’s easier to appreciate the very real advantage. For the untroubled marketer, the world is literally a playground.

Instead of fighting the curse, use it as unlimited inspiration. The world is filled with endless possibilities to explore. To help you become intentionally inspired and find new creative opportunities around every corner, get started with this guide to finding marketing inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

By: McKenzie Johnson, Summer Intern, 2016