We know that elephants fear mice, cats fear dogs, and half the nation now fears clowns after watching the latest remake of Stephen King’s IT, but a marketing agency fears things that might surprise you. The realm of digital marketing certainly contains more than its fair share of things that go bump in the night. Sometimes these fears even creep into our dreams! Forget dreams about being chased or falling — our dreams are filled with piles of spreadsheets and missed deadlines, failed ad campaigns, and distraught clients.

Thankfully, we’re a successful San Francisco digital marketing agency, and these types of phobias are only realities in our dreams. However, we do have some real, day-to-day fears that constantly keep us on our toes. Take advantage of this sneak peek into the minds of digital marketers and learn about the things that haunt our daily lives.

Maintaining Integrity

This is a big one, especially for our company. As San Francisco’s first digital marketing agency that’s a certified Benefit Corporation, integrity forms the cornerstone of our values. And maintaining integrity is more difficult than one would think. For example, when our budget is tight, it is so tempting to take on clients that don’t align with our values. But since we’re truly trying to be the change we wish to see in the digital marketing world, we have to bite the bullet and restrict our clients to ones that value the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.

Maintaining integrity also means pushing back on clients’ demands. This is where things get really scary. When a client insists they want something to be a certain way, but you feel it’s not right, speaking up may risk losing the client. Conflict is uncomfortable and it’s natural to try and avoid it, yet we have to constantly resist that urge and go against our nature in order to do what’s best for our clients, even if they don’t realize it at the time. Plus, there is always a chance that we’re wrong, and then we’d have to admit failure. But integrity means doing the thing you feel is right, even if you have to take the risk of being wrong. Our clients trust us to do what’s best for them, and we need to maintain that level of integrity with our decisions, even if it’s scary to do so.

Being Vulnerable

Despite its technical components, digital marketing is a fairly creative industry. Content writers, designers, strategists, and web developers often view the work they create as a form of artistic expression. Many ideas and digital creations come from a deeply personal place. Clients aren’t just judging our work — they’re judging our art. Putting your art out there for evaluation daily puts you in a state of vulnerability. You’re sharing a part of yourself with your clients and, ultimately, the whole world wide web.

Social media campaigns and blogging are particularly vulnerable areas since comment sections enable almost anyone to comment on the work you’ve produced. The willingness to be vulnerable to the entire world is a scary thing indeed, but for digital marketers, it’s a mandatory part of the job.

Rapid Changes in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a fast-paced industry, with trends and algorithms changing on an almost daily basis. Being a good digital marketer means staying abreast of these changes — and it’s no small feat. A campaign you’re creating may not work by the time you’re finished simply because of a sudden change in search engine optimization (SEO) or on a social media network. And then, you have to either adjust the strategy for the campaign or start all over again.

We fear missing a change or a trend and having to redo our work. We’re afraid that missing these things will produce poor results for our clients. We also fear not understanding the changes and the work that is involved in relearning and managing everything we know. FOMO is a real problem for digital marketers, and the consequence isn’t just missing out on some parties.

Being Overworked

The rapid changes in digital marketing and the enormous scope of digital campaigns mean that most digital marketers are overworked. It’s an industry that has numerous moving parts, all with their own specializations and characteristics — some of which are in conflict with one another. For example, user experience (UX) and SEO are often at odds. Digital strategy is an endless puzzle, and just when you think you’ve got all the pieces fitting together, you realize you’ve missed one of them.

Additionally, since our personal lives partially exist in the digital world, leaving work at work is not really an option. Anytime we check our Facebook accounts, we’re reminded of work or see campaigns for our clients appearing in our news feeds. Ads from our clients’ Google AdWords campaigns follow us around as we search on the web. And it’s basically impossible not to start strategizing when you see a cool example of something online. Yet being overworked causes burnout and even health problems. This means that digital marketers have to make a big effort to be offline during non-work hours and to truly take the breaks that are needed.

This can be even more challenging for digital marketers who work from home. With the rising trend of remote workers, virtual offices, and digital nomadism, people literally can’t leave their work at work because work and home are the same place. Our own office is a virtual one, with our #teamcolibri members working from all over the world. We have to be extra diligent to not overwork, and admittedly, we don’t always succeed.

Not Achieving the Best Results

Client satisfaction is the end goal of digital marketing. Clients want the best return on their investment, they want to see good results, and they want to feel proud of the quality of their digital presence. Digital marketers want these things for their clients, too.

The scary part about this is, of course, the fear of failure. And it’s a very legitimate thing to be afraid of. Digital marketers are handling a lot of their clients’ budgets and money. A failed campaign could mean a loss in revenue for their clients. For some, it could even mean the end of their business.

Digital marketing is a competitive industry. Businesses have many digital marketing agencies to choose from, so landing a contract requires creating a proposal that can’t be beaten. Even if you achieve good results for your clients, if another digital marketing agency tells them they can get better results, your clients may hire them instead for future projects. All of these elements make failure a very real possibility.

The Fears of a San Francisco Digital Marketing Agency

As a San Francisco digital marketing agency, our company is in an extra competitive area. The majority of the big tech companies are in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means that expectations are high. We can’t just be a good digital marketing agency; we have to be one of the best. All while maintaining our integrity and values.

This challenge is more than worth it to us. We’re willing to face our fears head-on and, hopefully, master them.

What things go bump in the night in your industry? We’d love to know! Reach out and tell us on Facebook or Twitter.

And if you have digital marketing needs, please take advantage of our complimentary digital strategy session. You’ll get to meet one-on-one with our CEO Anna Colibri, and at the very least, you’ll come away with action steps for your business. Simply schedule a session below.


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