shutterstock_179538596As a marketer, do you come home exhausted at the end of the work day? Do you find yourself looking for compelling marketing messages and branding concepts in all facets of life—whether you are watching a TV commercial or attending the opening reception for a museum exhibit? Do you feel like your job is hard?

If you answered “no” to any of these three questions then perhaps you need to ask yourself another one: Are you truly an industry-leading marketer or are you just doing enough to get by?

The truth is that marketers, like any group of employees, can fall into a number of several “work personalities” or “work personas,” such as the “the soldier”—or an employee who just follows the crowd and lives up to job requirements but does not make ripples or go above and beyond. Others, like Forbes writer Jeff Schmitt, spend time warning about the “weak links,” “flatliners” and “Rip Van Winkles” in the office. Myers-Briggs suggests that all employees fall into one of 16 personality types. But Businessweek author Nick Tasler sums it up brilliantly when he contends that there are really only two types of employees: those who believe they can make things happen and those who prefer to sit back and wait for things to happen to them.

So what kind of marketer are you? Are you the one who digs deep to conceptualize the most bleeding-edge marketing strategy that your industry has seen to date? Or do you sit back twiddling your thumbs and wait for someone to bring you an idea or for a cosmic shift to rock the universe and allow you to do your job better?

At the end of the day, the job of a 21st century marketer is nothing short of difficult. From originating impactful, action-driven blog copy to performing sufficient market research with regards to competitors, the pressure is on for you to get it right. After all, every department relies on your hard work: the sales team leverages your custom copy to drive conversions; the finance department considers the ROI of your marketing campaigns when shifting budgets; and the operations department depends on your creativity and intuitiveness to keep customers happy.

Worried you are not living up to the expectations placed on you by colleagues? Let’s take a look at a few warning signs that may suggest you are not living up to your marketing potential:

  • You are comfortable with your marketing initiatives: Do you feel like your blogging platform operates like a well-oiled machine? Are you confident that your Social Media Manager has your social profiles covered? The second you think everything is working fine is the moment you need to reassess. Oftentimes once routine is created—and processes are fully ironed out—slip ups and carelessness start to happen. Therefore, perform an audit of all your existing marketing processes to determine which can continue to benefit from a Laissez-faire approach and which deserve the second look.
  • You are more focused on the week than the year: It is easy to let short-term tasks like editorial calendars, lead capture forms and inbound marketing meetings derail you from looking months and years out with your marketing plan. But competitive companies do not maintain their industry leadership by just thinking two steps ahead. Rather they are forward-thinking, anticipating what could come around the corner weeks, months and years out.
  • Your to-do list is siloed: Does your to-do list look a little something like this: outline upcoming blog posts; respond to comments on your WordPress entries; come up with a catchy name for your corporate blogging platform… If so, you are missing the fundamental beauty of content marketing—using an integrated approach to marketing. Your list of goals should be well-rounded. It should include considerations for new tactics such as infographics and podcasting as well as lofty ambitions such as forming strategic partnerships and securing new revenue streams.

Like most professions, the second you feel ready to sit back and kick up your heels is actually the moment in time in which you should redefine your personal goals, strengthen your focus and reprioritize your initiatives. Your marketing potential will always remain untapped; it’s up to you to just reach a bit higher.