PHD Media Poland > News > 5 marketing midlife crisis archetypes (and how to overcome them)
December 15 2021

5 marketing midlife crisis archetypes (and how to overcome them)


As the marketing industry evolves, many organizations are struggling to adapt – causing stress and worry. Here, Mark Holden, PHD’s WW CSO, and Andrew Mclean, Head of Strategy and Planning at PHD UK, explain how organizations typically fit one of five midlife crisis archetypes and what they can do to allay their anxieties.

Any industry that experiences dramatic change will typically require individuals within it to continually evolve their understanding.

Each of the three million people that work in advertising and marketing, globally, are spread out on a continuum based on their level of understanding of some of the more advanced developments happening within the industry – with people at the far end developing a deep understanding of neutral clean rooms, UID2.0 tokens, server-side integrations, and cross-wall garden MTAs.

For some of you, that last sentence will have caused a trace level of anxiety. A feeling that you are not aware of some of these areas. Or certainly not aware enough. This anxiety pervades our industry. Propelling people to have to evolve. But also causing, what could be seen as a marketing midlife crisis.

The primary conditions experienced as one works through a midlife crisis are dissatisfaction, distraction, delusion, disarray, and denial. And these conditions are not limited to individuals.  Organizations can also suffer. With real-world implications for how they manage their marketing.

To bring more clarity to this, PHD has developed the five marketing midlife crisis archetypes, based on the primary conditions. And, after a series of in-depth interviews with leading marketers across the world, explored how to move beyond to create greater organizational health.

Come and meet the five archetypes and see if you can recognize your own organization here.


Marketing has changed.
You need to too.

Learn how in Shift | A Marketing Rethink.

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