Man with glasses standing in front of a desk wearing a black sweater holding a letter lightbox, that says “fraud”

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome as a Digital Marketer

Digital marketers have to be highly creative and have good communication skills. They use digital platforms and electronic devices such as social media, websites, search engines, and email to attract people to a specific product or business. Digital marketing is competitive in an exceptional way. The industry fuels comparison, which can often lead to insecurity and discouragement. 

Whether you’re an experienced or aspiring digital marketer, this article will educate you on the dangers of imposter syndrome in digital marketing. It also includes tips for identifying and addressing imposter syndrome as a digital marketer. 

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome, also called the imposter phenomenon, refers to an internal experience of self-doubt. People who experience it feel like an imposter in their own job and are afraid that their coworkers will find out they’re a fraud.

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When they receive positive feedback from a superior, they think the person is only being nice. They often don’t think they deserve any of the success they have, and they believe their accomplishments are simply the result of luck.

Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes created the term imposter phenomenon in 1978. They researched imposter syndrome in high-achieving women and believed it only affected that demographic. However, studies since then have proved that it can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. 

Is Imposter Syndrome Common in Digital Marketing?

There isn’t much data available on the prevalence of imposter syndrome in digital marketing. However, the phenomenon is notably more common among high-achievers and women, who make up nearly 50 percent of the marketing and public relations field in the US. Overall, it affects many people in many creative industries. 

How Imposter Syndrome Affects Digital Marketers

Negative Impact on Mental Health

This phenomenon can negatively impact your mental health, making you feel anxious and insecure. In digital marketing, imposter syndrome in the workplace is detrimental because it can cause employees to withdraw, which will lead to project setbacks.


People who are struggling with imposter syndrome feel ashamed of themselves, which can cause them to self-isolate. Digital marketers work in teams to develop projects that meet their clients’ needs. Communication and good relationships with colleagues are crucial for meeting goals. Isolation can be damaging to your team and the overall business.

Fear of Failure

The imposter phenomenon causes fraudulent feelings, which can lead to a great fear of failure. This can discourage innovative ideas and creativity, which are key in the industry. When people fear that they’re not good enough, they may procrastinate, which negatively impacts the outcome of a digital marketing project.

What Causes Imposter Syndrome?


There are many things in your childhood that can cause imposter feelings later in life. The phenomenon is prevalent among people whose parents value accomplishments above all else, or who constantly compared one child to his or her siblings. You could also develop imposter feelings later in life if you succeeded in school without putting in much effort.

New Responsibilities

When starting a new job, taking on new responsibilities, or accepting a promotion, it’s easy to develop imposter syndrome. This happens when you believe that your recent accomplishments are pure luck, which can cause you to doubt whether you can fulfill your new responsibilities. 

Personality Traits

Accomplished people with certain personality traits also have a greater chance of developing imposter feelings. Researchers have linked perfectionism, low self-esteem, low confidence, and high levels of neuroticism to the phenomenon. 

What Imposter Syndrome Looks Like in the Workplace

Imposter syndrome can manifest at work in many ways. You may avoid receiving feedback, intentionally overwork yourself, procrastinate, or turn down new opportunities. Imposter syndrome in the workplace can be triggered by poor communication, lack of mentorship, lack of diversity, and workplaces that encourage competition.

For these reasons, instances of imposter syndrome can be detrimental to a digital marketing company. The industry relies heavily on teamwork and the imposter phenomenon can impact the whole marketing strategy. Managers can attempt to prevent imposter syndrome by creating an inclusive environment, providing regular constructive criticism, and praising the team’s achievements to boost confidence. 

Can Imposter Syndrome Be Cured?

There are no specific treatments to cure this internal experience, although there are some steps that you can follow to help significantly improve or even overcome it. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, it’s important to seek support from friends, family, and mental health professionals to see what solutions are best for you. 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Digital Marketing

Speak Up

People are often too ashamed to speak up about their feelings. However, it doesn’t take long to realize there are many people who are experiencing the same feelings that you are. Many people, including famous and successful people like poet Maya Angelou and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, have experienced this phenomenon. Breaking your silence is an important first step to defeating this syndrome. 

Address Perfectionism

Perfectionism is sometimes good because it shows that you care deeply about the standard of your work. Still, being a perfectionist can be harmful if you focus too much on one project. If you are a perfectionist who also has imposter syndrome, remember to forgive and extend grace to yourself when mistakes occur on your career path.  

Change Your Inner Dialogue

When struggling with imposter syndrome, you will have negative thoughts about your abilities. If you want to overcome this phenomenon, you should intentionally replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Positive thinking will boost your confidence at work and help with your career growth.

Acknowledge Your Success

People who have imposter syndrome find it challenging to accept their achievements even though they are very accomplished. A vital step to overcoming imposter feelings is acknowledging that you earned your achievements. 

Upskill Regularly

A fantastic way to combat the imposter phenomenon is to keep learning. Learning new skills and updating your existing ones will increase your confidence and help you let go of your imposter feelings. There are many ways you can keep learning about your profession, such as reading books, participating in job training, attending a bootcamp, or reading marketing blog posts. 

How a Coding Bootcamp Can Help You Get Over Imposter Syndrome

Some advantages of attending a coding bootcamp include meeting like-minded people, learning more about digital marketing, and the potential for a salary increase, thanks to your updated skills.

You may be wondering what a coding bootcamp is and how can help you overcome imposter syndrome. It’s an intensive training program that teaches crucial skills for a specific job. The programs usually take a few weeks or months to complete and can be done either online or on campus.

Although digital marketing bootcamps improve your technical and creative skills, this translates to whether or not you believe you’re qualified for the position you have. Bootcamps also help you upskill, which is really important in overcoming imposter syndrome. 

Can Imposter Syndrome Be a Good Thing?

Yes, it is possible to use imposter feelings to your advantage. A certain amount of perfectionism can help you produce better work. Similarly, having some self-doubt means you’re likely to listen carefully to feedback before making a decision. But there are also tons of downsides. Below, we’ll look at the pros and cons of this phenomenon.

Why Imposter Syndrome Is Good

  • Better interpersonal skills. Researcher Basima Tewfik conducted a study among physicians in training and found that one unexpected benefit of imposter syndrome is better interpersonal skills. The people she studied had better social skills and worked better with others.
  • Motivation to upskill. Self-doubt can inspire people to seek further education in their field, whether they are in a junior or senior role. Continuing education is essential, and it shows you are stepping out of your comfort zone, encouraging personal and career growth.
  • High-quality work. Low self-confidence and fraudulent feelings can drive people to work harder to prove themselves. This determination often results in a higher quality of work.

Why Imposter Syndrome Is Bad

  • Diminished self-perception. The imposter phenomenon always includes self-doubt and fraudulent feelings. When you doubt yourself, you will become less confident and will feel undeserving of your success.
  • Damaged mental health. Self-doubt can impact your mental health negatively. When people constantly doubt their abilities, they become more prone to stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Stagnant career growth. Some people with imposter syndrome are afraid of failure, so they stay in their current role and push away any opportunities for growth. If you aren’t willing to get out of your comfort zone, advancing your career won’t be easy.

Don’t Let Imposter Syndrome Hold You Back

The reality of the imposter phenomenon is that it can be experienced by anyone, whether they’re high-achievers, multiracial people, or recent college graduates who are just starting their careers. You are not alone! If you’re experiencing the feeling of imposter syndrome, it’s time to modify your frame of mind and turn those negative thoughts into positive changes.

Don’t be afraid to go for that promotion, take on new responsibilities, or simply pat yourself on the back. The digital marketing experience you have and the projects you’ve finished are valid, and you should recognize those achievements. Use the valuable tips above to advance your well-deserved marketing career. 

Imposter Syndrome in Digital Marketing FAQ

What are the types of imposter syndrome?

Dr. Young has outlined five main types of imposter syndrome. They include the soloist, the expert, the natural genius, the perfectionist, and the superhero. 

Is imposter syndrome a mental illness?

The imposter phenomenon is not a recognized psychiatric diagnosis, but it is an experience recognized by many psychologists. They often find that it is associated with generalized anxiety disorder.

How can I become a digital marketer?

To become a digital marketer, you will need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree or attend a bootcamp. These paths will enhance your technical skills, sharpen your soft skills, and allow you to build a strong portfolio. 

Can imposter syndrome affect my salary?

Yes, this affliction can affect your average salary. If you’re afraid of failure and unwilling to accept promotions or unable to complete projects, you are less likely to get a raise or promotion, and could even get fired.

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