My Biggest Role

15 Dec
My Biggest Role Yet

Catherine Snider, CM, sheds light on the parallels between marketing and motherhood. The similarities include continuous learning, adaptability, and staying calm in chaos. Catherine’s biggest role emphasizes the need to celebrate small wins and embrace challenges while cherishing every moment. 

Hanging up my marketing hat (temporarily) to accept my biggest role yet: mom

As I approach a decade in the communications industry, I’m often asked what a typical day as a marketer looks like. The answer? There isn’t one. As one of the most dynamic career options, success in marketing is defined by many unique skills: strategic planning while staying on top of new trends and current events; creative and out-of-the-box thinking while showing that you “get” your target audience; and continuous learning, while juggling a mile-long to-do list of deliverables — to name a few.

Since day one of stepping into the industry, I felt that it was one of the most challenging yet rewarding, careers I could enter. That is until I took on the most important role of my life thus far: motherhood. Since welcoming my beautiful daughter in March, I’ve become even more aware of the value of patience, adaptability and staying present. And while these were traits I expected and anticipated when stepping into the early days of parenthood, I hadn’t considered just how similar the role of ‘mom’ and ‘marketer’ would be.

Here, I’ve broken down a few of those similarities.

Absorb, absorb, absorb

One of the most important lessons that we learn as marketers is the importance of lifelong learning.

On one hand, we’re required to continuously learn about the new communications channels our target audiences use and how to best deliver marketing messages across each. Whether it’s a new social media platform or a new feature drop on an existing app, we’re required to become experts overnight and show up where our customers are — often before they are even there.

We’re also challenged with keeping a pulse on current events and industry trends. As appealing as it can be to put our blinders on to the (often ‘doom and gloom’) news, the reality is: what is happening in the world directly impacts our work — and the most successful marketing initiatives are those that show a product or service’s relevance in the current landscape.

The need to learn and absorb as much as possible is equally as important as a new mom. As a lifelong learner myself, as soon as I found out that our family was growing, I began reading anything and everything I could to navigate pregnancy and the early days with a newborn. From books and Google and TikTok searches to webinars and in-person courses, my fiancé and I digested as much as we possibly could. There is one caveat, however; we quickly learned the importance of trusting our gut. Like most topics, there was no shortage of information to dig through, so to avoid information overload, it was crucial that we differentiated fact from opinion and leaned on credible resources — just as we do in the marketing field.

Adaptable: your new middle name

“I’m often pulled in multiple directions, juggling several tasks at once, and the concept of a ‘schedule’ is a distant memory.” Anyone who has asked me what it’s like working in marketing may have heard a response similar to this in the past, and today, the same would be said about being a new mom.

Staying adaptable has to be the most important skill of being a new parent — and it’s also the most similar to working in marketing. Marketers/PR pros know all too well that while we can set a schedule with tasks we need to complete, a new priority can arise at any second, overriding any timeline that we’d previously set out. As nice as uninterrupted writing or planning sounds, a buzzworthy trend, brand crisis or inbound top-tier media request will always demand our immediate attention.

This is no different as a new parent. While I often have a mile-long list of “to dos” to complete during our daughter’s naps or while she independently plays, she is ultimately the boss — and one cry out of hunger, boredom, or just wanting mom takes priority every time.

Staying calm in chaos

Being adaptable is also one of the most significant drivers of success in crisis communications — an important part of the role as a marketing/PR professional. We can be as proactive and prepared as possible, but regardless of industry or brand reputation, there is always the possibility that a crisis will strike. And when it does, success often means that the issue is resolved before anyone has even heard of it — requiring quick thinking, swift action, and a calm demeanour.

Surprise, surprise: these are also key as a new mom. Staying ‘calm in chaos’ is my reality on maternity leave today. Bottle strikes, diaper disasters and an overtired but won’t nap baby is my new normal, and if there is one thing I’ve been reminded of, it’s that there is nothing more important (and effective) than keeping composed and confident. Babies feel most secure when they sense calmness from mom and dad — and whether you’re a new parent or not, any marketer can relate to this feeling. After all, our handling of the situation is the single most important way to build trust with our audience.

Celebrate the wins (big and small)

As a marketer, we often work towards a campaign launch or exciting project going live. But what we can forget to do along the way is celebrate the small wins that get us to that point: building a strategy, developing the foundational materials, creating the creative assets, and so much more. It’s easy to celebrate once we see the campaign in-market, but there is something to be said about all of the behind-the-scenes work done beforehand. After all, without it, there would be no campaign.

Before becoming a mom, everything that I read talked about the big milestones that babies reach: smiling at two months, intentionally using their hands at four, and rolling in both directions at six. What I hadn’t considered is just how many micro-moments there are along the way to celebrate and embrace. Watching our daughter’s brain develop and progress towards each milestone – and the smile that comes from our clapping and cheering her on — gives us a reason to celebrate every day.

My Biggest Role YetWhile I could go on and on about the similarities and transferable skills between my role as a marketer and role as mom, if there is one that is most important, it’s that while the work may be hard, there is nothing more rewarding.

So, to any new parents: embrace the challenging times, celebrate the good times (and small wins) and enjoy the ride — because it goes by faster than you ever thought was possible.