Here’s how it typically goes. First, there’s a vital targeted email that must go out. This is quickly outranked by an important digital letter addressing global news. Then invitations to an impromptu top client event take priority, just as you realize that you have a great idea for your next blog post, which by the way, needs to go out immediately. When will you write content for your website or newsletter? Which project is more important today?
If you find you or your team jumping from one “critical” marketing campaign to another or trying to accomplish too many initiatives, across too many verticals at one time, you could be suffering from what I call, MADHD or Marketing Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The Attention Span of an 8-year-old
My oldest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was younger. Extremely bright and bored by routine unchallenging work, she would bounce around the class, interrupting the teacher and students alike. As her parents, we had to find creative ways to harness her boundless energy so that she could focus and be successful. Business leaders can experience the same familiar symptoms as my unruly third grader, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, and even anxiety.
While MADHD may not be a board certified clinical diagnosis, it is a real psychological disorder none the less. And based on my conversations with small business owners, it is the result of having an agglomerate of creative ideas, that keeps them hopping from one marketing campaign to another. A costly distraction that could keep a business from reaching their goals.
In fact, author Gary Keller said, “success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.”
Very often, it is in reaction to simple things like poor online engagement or slightly off open rates that can have a company chasing an extensive marketing wish list. But be aware that this can cause MADHD to show up as anger and frustration with the team, difficulty identifying systemic problems and without question, the inability of a leader to recognize opportunities.
Here are 5 simple things MADHD suffers can do to ease compulsive behavior:
- First, prepare a real marketing strategy. Creating a comprehensive plan of the, who, what, when, how, and especially why, will prevent distraction. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding that your why should be the governing impetus behind everything you do.
- Create an “Idea or Creativity Box” (either virtual or hard copy). Often a brain dump (brainstorm) provides relief from feeling compelled to implement everything that runs through your imagination. Some ideas might be good, but just not for right now – put those in the box for later!
- Measure every marketing campaign by your goals. Will doing this one thing count toward achieving one of your marketing goals? And if so, how? If the idea won’t yield quantifiable results, drop it in the Idea Box or toss the concept completely.
- Get laser focused on your customers’ top three or four challenges – then go about addressing one intentional solution at a time. Concentrating efforts on improving brand performance could reveal opportunities. This is also the perfect time to determine which social media platforms are right for you – your brand does not have to be on every single one of them.
- Let’s face it, everything cannot be a priority. Don’t drag your team on an MADHD roller coaster ride where the priority of every campaign rises and falls based on emotion, anxiety or impulsiveness. This type of ineffective hyperactivity leaves everyone spent and stressed out.
As someone who thrives on producing a plethora of unique and innovative ideas, I know how easy it is to become a bit harebrained when so many creative ideas are swirling around in your head. Just know that MADHD is not code for multitasking or efficiency, but rather a sign that a leader lacks strategy and direction in their marketing, and perhaps their business. However, the way I see it, by concentrating on a well thought-out marketing strategy you won’t be pulled in every direction by every new idea or shiny object. Remember the ancient proverb, “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”