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F*** My Marketing Life

F*** My Marketing Life.

Confessions about marketing. From marketers. Who market things.

Submit your confessions here

"Do I even know marketing?"

The quote in the title is from a longtime marketer who was feeling gaslit by their CEO. Despite years of deep experience in GTM, they found themselves questioning even the basics whenever the CEO stepped in (which was for 100% of marketing activities). Editorial calendar? Nah - we'll post about random topics whenever we think of it. MQL goals? What's an MQL? Just give us more leads! I stepped in as their fractional CMO. Despite the friction, we got to work tuning up operations, fixing email deliverability, bringing some order to content creation, generating new naturally the CEO ended the engagement, freeing the team from my tyrrany. Why have effective marketing when you could keep on dictating how to do marketing and blame the team when leads don't follow?!?!


Alignment is off

Small firm launches rebrand. Agency creates PPT template, which is approved by tacit agreement AKA no feedback in the 2 months approval process. 4 months after relaunch... Senior leader states "I don't think the alignment is right;" puzzled we review everything 3 times, nothings seems out of place, check various computers (sometimes there are differences between Mac and Windows computers). Nothing. Senior Leader comments again alignment is not right. Finally, we sit down where I say please show me where it's off... turns out they simply didn't like the empty space around the central text as it cluttered too much in the middle... Basically they didn't like the template... Back to the drawing board.


Wtf is up with agency payment terms...

Man, this is my soap box crossed with a hill that I will die on. How the f*** can the biggest companies in the world force small businesses like ours to essentially be their banks? How is 90 day payment terms a thing for agency suppliers? I've even seen 120. How is that possible? Can we please just get all the agencies together, form a union, and cut this sh*t out?!


So nervous I could hardly speak

I'm the CEO of a marketing agency. I talk to CMO, CEOs all day. But when I was starting out as a junior account person on the agency side I remember i used to be so nervous in any client meeting/call I could barely speak. So for anyone reading this who still gets nervous in front of clients, just be patient! Get the reps in and build your confidence. We all start there.


100 pairs of Crocs

I run a boutique marketing agency and one time ordered 100 pairs of branded Crocs. I thought it would be funny. Turns out they're expensive! Luckily we were able to get out of the order. Maybe another time...


Sh*t talked a client in an email...

I was a young and stupid Account Exec at an agency. One of our clients (the CMO actually!) did something I thought was dumb and I sent a one off email to my creative director about it. Or at least I thought I did...turns out I sent it to the client by accident! Needless to say, it did not go over well...but I also learned an invaluable lesson. Never put bad things in writing!


Coked-Out Chew Out

We were sponsoring a major televised event - a major award show. This was back in the days of "social media war rooms" - where you'd live Tweet and promote UGC because real-time activations and second-screen engagement mattered!!! Over the course of like four or five hours, we spent $3MM on paid social promotions across literally hundreds of pieces of content. But, we missed one of the tweets that the senior client who was on-site at the (very glamorous) event wanted us to promote. I was leading the buying team and he called us from a major event after party, obviously out of his mind on cocaine, and absolutely chewed me out for being a complete and utter failure, a waste of space, and obviously terrible at my job. Thanks, man, enjoy your after party.


This product isn’t good because my wife didn’t like it

Imagine working on an Innovation for 9 months - blood, sweat, tears, and then some. Liaising with global marketing teams and regional Innovation leads to ensure this gets the resources required; planning and leading countless project meetings with R&D, supply chain, factory & suppliers to build capability; testing the product & packaging with Consumers to ensure you have the right Proposition; working with Finance on the business case to ensure the value chain is profitable; going back & forth with Sales & Trade Marketing teams to ensure the right support is put behind activating it; the whole shebang. And after nine months you bring the final product (albeit a prototype) to Management to showcase before the launch (mind you, you’ve already shared product samples countless times to ensure everyone is aligned), and then that ONE person in the meeting makes an offhand comment: ‘Sure, everything looks good, but my ‘wife / partner / kid / dog / whatever entity coexists with them’ didn’t like the product! It takes all you have to not give the seething reply, ‘is your ‘wife…et al’ the Target Market??


It Was Your F***king Idea

Days into a new role the CEO told me he was ‘informed’ at a dinner that a competitor gets ALL its leads through LinkedIn outreach. He said he wanted to try it as a result.

I’m not a big fan, but he was very dogmatic in his view and I saw it as low hanging fruit, get a couple of leads and deliver an easy project in the first few weeks. Plus, I was writing a strategy, so thought it might get me some breathing space and hopefully a proof case for a more strategic approach.

I brought it up in the next 1-2-1 and he asked for a business case before he would approve it. I thought it was strange, he had previously insisted we do it, refusing to listen to an alternative approach.

Anyway, after 3-months of back and forth I found myself trying to convince him to do it. Eventually I lost my shit and said ‘it was your f***king idea, don’t do it if you don’t want’.

Unfortunately it only got worst from there.


Left my notes app running...

Forgot to close my note taking app after dictating notes from a call and came back to find this logged in Hubspot a month later... "I was just tired I look I don't think I usually look like this you haven't seen my face I think the lighting but you're also backlit I have like this fluorescent lighting situation going on"


TikTok is for Pension Funds

I was working on a brand film for a client. We had spent 3 months concepting, re-concepting and finally landing on an idea that met the business objectives and also the CEO's very specific requests. It was about £100k worth of production cost and a 4-day shoot . The day before the shoot the client's 18-year-old daughter called us and told us the concept was "boring" and thought we should do something more along the lines of a TikTok campaign...The client was a pension fund whose clients were other financial institutions...


Be "Resourceful"

Our boss saw the Uber Eats superbowl ad (the Victoria Beckham) one and asked us seriously why we didn't think of it. We are a marketing team of 3 people with an annual budget of £75k. When I suggested that budget could and access to Victoria Beckham could be a problem he told me I should be "More Resourceful".


How money works

The CFO came to the bank of desks where we (the marketing team) sit today and proceeded to berate us about not understanding ROI or "how money works". We're 6 months into a brand awareness campaign which has us spending about 60% of our annual budget on above-the-line OOO... This strategy was pushed through/demanded by the CEO and completely opposed to the highly targeted campaign we wanted to deliver.


My clients entire decisioning process with their c-suite is run on a poorly formatted, locally saved excel spreadsheet with hardcoded values.


Never leave your phone unattended

I left my phone unattended for just TEN MINUTES. That’s all it took for some rather shaky MTV Cribs-style Instagram stories to appear on the company’s Instagram page narrated by my 6-year-old.


F*cked up at the wrong time

When working at a PR agency, that had the words 'public relations’ in its name - there was a long-standing joke that you were only an official member of the team after you'd sent an email with a typo that everyone made at some point and referred to the business as Pubic Relations! I made that typo on the day of my probation review.


Sudden drop in engagement

We were wondering why our social posts seemed to be getting a lower engagement rate all of a sudden, especially as similar content we’d done in the past tended to perform pretty well. I later realised that the genius that I am had scheduled a whole bunch of content to go at 3am when i’d meant for it to publish at 3PM


I use my marketing degree to help run OF accounts and my girlfriend doesn't know.

 I’ve been in marketing for 7 years now and started searching for side hustles a year back. I’m making more money trhough OF than I could have imagined at this point. Initially, it was just an additional way to make some money, and it didn't feel so weird not telling my girlfriend about this. Now that I’m making a lot of money, I am hiding 2 things - the money, and my second job from her - I don’t think I can quit because it is such a good stream of income.


BS to clients

Client was not happy with our performance results for a long time - changed the way we report on insights and now he is the happiest client we have


My boss s*cks

F***ing hate my boss who always takes credit for all the good results, and blames us for the bad ones - he’s also a bit creepy and my company does not see it. Clients love him and that’s the reason my company will never remove him.


The things we do

I used to work at a big advertising agency where there was a rule that every pitch deck needed to have at least one idea in a beach setting, so that the creative team could go somewhere warm for the shoot…



One of my previous Financial Directors pulled me into her office to call me a plonker (for a mistake she had made), I enjoyed the term ‘plonker’ so much I initially smiled. I was swiftly asked by the MD to go through ‘others’ to communicate with her hereonin. Going to the office kitchen was a stealth mission for the next 18 months before her departure.


Submit your confessions

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