Why You Need to Focus on Focus in Your Marketing Plan

Don't take it for granted. Without it, your plan will lack a mission and purpose.

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By Jim Joseph

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Focus -- it's something I've tried to instill into my kids through the years. It's something I teach in my class at New York University. It's something I try to place into every client assignment.

Focus is a key tenant of any marketing plan.

Without focus, a marketing plan is all over the map. It lacks a mission and a purpose. It lacks a central objective that guides its every move. It lacks clarity and a specific call to action for the team.

Without focus, you don't have an actionable marketing plan.

Related: Stop Offending Buyers: Dangerous Words and Phrases to Avoid in Sales

Truth be told, focus isn't something you suddenly think about when you've completed your plan. It would be a lot of work to go back in and add focus at the end of your planning.

But hopefully what you've been noticing as this series has progressed is that the process we've been following to build your marketing plan has had focus built right into it. If you've been following it step by step, then your plan couldn't be anything but focused.

It all started with a clearly defined objective to kick off the process and a single-minded question: What do you want to accomplish this year?

The plan got rooted in some fundamentals of the brand and then we kicked into gear with some data about the target customer, the competition and your own past marketing initiatives.

The plan then followed a somewhat regimented approach to map out strategies and tactics as well as a measurement protocol to make sure that you were accomplishing your objective along the way.

There was focus the entire time!

But don't take focus for granted. We could have easily strayed and added in a litany of tactics that could have put us in a spin. We could have decided on strategies that wouldn't really accomplish the objectives. We could have mishandled the budget and tried to do too much with too little.

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We could have easily lost our focus. It happens every single day.

Which is why I have to say that while focus is built into the process, it's not automatic. Focus is not an innate talent for most of us. We have to learn it along the way.

As human beings, we are enticed by shiny objects, and as marketers we are constantly bombarded with new ways of doing things. We are constantly sidelined with new problems that have to be fixed and fires that have to be put out.

It's so easy to lose focus at any given moment in the process.

So as you write your marketing plan and begin to execute it throughout the year, keep your focus sharp. Challenge yourself to bring even more clarity to your tactics and even more acuity to your marketing spending.

It'll not only make for a closer adherence to your plan and to your goals. It'll also set you up for even greater success next year.

Good luck to you!

Related: 4 Ways to Engage Your Audience Like a Comedian

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.

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