Five Enemies of Focused Marketing

"Marketers may not be focusing well enough to get real value out of the solutions they buy and implement."

Like distracted driving, distracted marketing can have serious consequences. For one thing, marketers, subject to a rush of options, information, and environmental forces, may not be focusing well enough to get real value out of the solutions they buy and implement.

Below are five reasons for distracted marketing and ideas for addressing them to become a more focused marketer.

  1. The explosion of options

    The explosion of options and information regarding technologies and practical applications make it difficult to find and focus on the right technology platform.

    Before you pick a technology stack, explore examples where other firms have successfully deployed a solution with various vendors “stacked” together. Ask yourself if they received the value within the budget and timing they expected. Once you pick one, give your user community a chance to adjust to it and adopt its full potential before rejecting it. Find a core vendor, and build around that firm and its technology, making sure that company is stable, innovative, and invests reasonably in its products.

  2. The size of big data

    The amount of data available can be overwhelming and lead you down countless dead ends. With a remarkable amount of data, often linked together with drill downs, report hyperlinks, summary, and details tabs, you can quickly get lost in a costly and time-consuming maze. Marketers need discipline and training to navigate data and separate bad data from good data.

    Before embarking on data exploration, it helps to have a hypothesis in mind, and then set out on a path to prove or disprove it. Use caution and judgment to verify data resources and eliminate dubious sources.

    Stick with core tools that enable you to navigate, fuse, and distill data. For example, spreadsheets, like tools in a plumber’s toolbox, haven’t changed that much in 20 years and in many cases work just fine.

  3. The disruptive organizational environment

    With matrix management and an average tenure in jobs of less than three years, it’s not uncommon to see instability in teams, long term planning, and accountability.

    Interruptions abound in our lives and lower our attention spans. But to be a productive marketer, you need to fine the time and place to plot out longer term efforts, take stock in what’s been accomplished and what’s in flux, and then factor that together to adjust priorities.

    Find that time, and use it to rethink long term objectives, get deeper into a subject, or to perform some research. Avoid releasing something if it hasn’t been properly tested, and justify the time needed to question, fact check and sustain deep analysis.

  4. The need for speed

    Speed over quality can mean the deterioration of product, service and content depth and quality, as massive quantities of data are pushed out at breakneck speeds, often by unreliable sources.

    While it’s easy to become caught up in the layers of that content clutter, it’s critical to go deep into the innermost layer: valuable research and insights. This, however, takes time, focus, and critical thinking.

    Take that necessary time to question things, double check them, and dig deeper to find something unusual or interesting as you probe into that next layer of analysis that can lead to real insights.

  5. Agile used as a crutch

    Agility is critical during a performance, when things don’t go according to plan, or when you are responding to market forces or need to test, refine, and learn quickly. However, agility is no excuse for failing to plan, concentrate, or see tasks through.

    Using the agile approach as a methodology, you can begin with a project plan, plot a path, and stick with it unless you encounter an actual example of a major market force that should be factored in. This approach will allow you communicate more effectively and add value throughout the project.