Marketers: Are You Focusing on the Wrong Things?
Fauzia Burke

Imagine if you opened your inbox and saw only one email. Imagine if you only got a new one when you answered the current one. Without knowing how many emails you have in total; you would take the time and respond with great care. Now imagine you open your inbox and get 200 emails (like most of us). Your process would have to be different. You would have to quickly assess what gets deleted, what can wait, and which emails have top priority. You should approach your job in the same way. Look at everything that needs doing, then assess, delete and respond.

It seems to me that the days of over designing, over thinking, and over obsessing are over. If you are an artist or a teacher, the more thoughtful and obsessed you are about doing your job, the better you will be at it. But marketers (and we are all marketers today) have to understand that there is no time to focus on the wrong things. Being super diligent was good when the world moved slowly, but today being diligent slows you down, and can slow down the people around you. Instead:

Think ahead. Where do you want to see your business in three years? To avoid getting stuck on details that ultimately won’t matter, decide where you want to be in three years. Each day assess key priorities against busy work so you can stay on track. As leadership expert Stephen Covey once said, “The key isn’t to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” You can end up spinning your wheels if your day is consumed with little things and not on your most important objectives.

Make a decision. Sometimes procrastination or perfectionism can keep you stuck. Make a decision, any decision. It’s always better than no decision. Neglecting to make a decision for fear that you will make the wrong one will only ensure that you don’t make any progress. Any action is a step forward because even if it’s the wrong decision, you’ll learn something, and that experience will give you information to move you in a better direction. Delete things that no longer work and make decisions to move forward on things that do.

Recognize team strengths. If you are working with a team, make sure you stay aligned with your core competencies and let other people lead with their core competencies. Respond to new challenges by delegating to the best qualified in your team. Let every member of your teamwork with their strengths and stay focused on your own areas of strength. When you try to control all the details or get into areas where other people should be leading, you can stall the progress of the entire team. If you don’t trust your team, you are working with the wrong people.

Work both jobs. Most of us are doing two jobs these days, the regular job and the start-up job. The regular job is anything we have been doing for years, and our start-up job is the job we will be doing in a few years. We all have to adapt to new ways of doing business to stay in business. There is a lot to learn, so be careful how you spend your time. There are some jobs where we can’t live with mistakes, brain surgery for one, but marketers have to live in a world where mistakes are made, and we need resilience and plans to recover from them.

When you keep your focus on what matters most, you will get more done in less time and you will be moving apace with our current fast world. So adopt a new marketing mantra: Assess, Delete and Respond.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.