• Alan Shoebridge

4 ways to stay focused in 2020


The new year has only just begun, but I bet you're already facing a huge challenge whether you fully realize it or not.


It’s focus. And I’m not talking about your eyesight. I’m talking about your strategic focus.


If you did your due diligence this fall you already have a comprehensive marketing plan in place. You’re working the plan now and making progress, but distractions are going to come up soon. Perhaps they already have.


During the first two weeks of 2020 there has been a lot of noise. First we had CES and then we had the annual J.P. Morgan healthcare conference. There was a lot of hype and distraction during those two weeks with plenty of shiny objects to chase after.


There’s also a good chance you’ve already been asked by your business partners to add something new to your plate that wasn’t on the radar at all in December. So the question becomes can you stay focused and how will you do it? I think there are four keys to success.


1. Work your plan, but allow time to experiment


I don’t know that there is truly any single defined formula for how much time to set aside, but I think an 80/20 rule makes sense. By spending 80% of your time on what you know works and 20% experimenting and taking risks, you’ll make progress on what matters most and increase your chances of striking gold on something new. At the very least, it seemed to work out OK for Google.


2. If you try something, fully commit to it


The staggering amount of things we “could” do in 2020 is both a blessing and a curse. It’s all too easy to get excited about something new only to fail to allocate enough time, energy and resources to actually make it a success. You need to make a plan, dedicate the right resources and be realistic about handling the increased demands. If you can't adequately address those issues, the time isn't right.


3. Realize the difference between what you want to do versus what you need to do


Healthcare marketers are a creative group and we generate a lot of great ideas. That tends to create a situation where we just put more on our plates all the time. In short, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves. If nobody is asking for your great idea (and won’t miss it), setting it aside for a few months might be the best strategy.


4. Identify trade-offs


There is only so much time in the day and so many marketing messages we can put into a media market. I like to keep a list of above and below the line business priorities to align marketing efforts to when building a marketing plan. When something significant moves from below the line to above it, you have to discuss potential trade-offs or additional resources. Not having that discussion is setting you and your team up for failure.


If you still need additional inspiration, here is a good motto to work (and live) by:



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