This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing.

I have seen it in myself, and I certainly see it in our team, people who manage PPC accounts are all headed for burnout. The nature of the industry is immediate and constant feedback, reporting on the value of every move we make and the overwhelming truth that more can always be done.

It’s possible a reason for the relatively short tenure at any one job/company the industry sees. Burnout may also be the reason that companies switch agencies so frequently (the only team gets burned out and stops performing). The consequences are serious for business and for the individual experiencing it.

How do you know if someone is headed for burnout?


  • A person who normally works hard slows down
  • A person who normally is a step behind is all the sudden two steps ahead
  • Overreaction (negatively) to client requests
  • A lack of excitement for projects, even when the project was the account managers idea
  • A sudden focus on new areas of the business while ignoring his/her primary responsibilities
  • Drastic change in work schedule

How can PPC managers reduce burnout?

1. Saying No

At Hanapin we have a motto of “Yes, if…” It means that we try to find a way to say yes but understand what must be given up in order to make it work. The problem is that account managers often mistake Yes, if… for Yes. They ignore the if part, which is what defines what must be moved to make room.

2. More Confidence

I find myself constantly questioning strategies and tactics, even those proven to work. That is because there is no right way. There is always something more/different that could have been done and thus great account managers spend a fair amount of time thinking about what they could have done differently. In order to reduce burnout you have to shut this part of your brain off some of the time in order to take the wins you go get and clear space to focus on new things.

3. Listening Better

Part of burnout is running too hard too fast down the wrong path. Sometimes account managers take what is being said at face value without asking enough questions or peeling the layers of the onion back far enough to uncover what is really being said. This means a lot of work gets done on the wrong things and work on the right things has to get started right away.

4. Address it Head on With Your Supervisor

While scary, it is important to have open dialog with your supervisor about the stress you are incurring. While they can’t make your task list magically shrink or boredom subside, they should be able to allocate some resource and give you some tools to address what ails you.

If you are interested in reading all posts in this series you can start with post 1 about what I am focusing on as president of a PPC agency. Read about the evolution of account managers in the 11th post in this series.