Marketing leaders are regularly searching for clarity. The demands of the role push you from all angles and it's hard to consistently have a bead on all your different areas of responsibility. What the market demands, what your internal customers needs, how your team is growing and developing and how marketing is adding value to the company can sometimes be in opposition with one another. Without a sense of where you need to be - now and in the future - those forces can overtake your day to day and lead you off course.
Musicians - really all artists - fall into this situation constantly. The ability to capture what they see or hear is a constant challenge, but the good ones all know what they want (and what they don't want). This is not that different from what marketers face since everything is in a regular state of movement and the need to match the market and your constituents is an evolving goal. Guitarists call it "tone chasing" - the search for that sound amongst the combination of guitars, amps, pedals, and frequencies that will get you to create that authentic sound you've been chasing all your life. I just watched The Defiant Ones, an HBO documentary on Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, two music icons who creates Beats. Dr. Dre said that he's been searching for the right sound for 25 years and he "thinks he's close". That kind of clarity has helped him become a legend (and a billionaire) even though the music industry has changed a lot since he started. Marketers can learn a lot by gaining that kind of clarity in their efforts.
Clarity in your marketing comes from clarity in your organization's vision and business objectives. I submit that the organizations that have the best marketing are the ones that have the most clear sense of who they are and from there their market strategies, target audiences and key marketing channels fall in line. It also helps create consistency year to year, quarter to quarter and most importantly in the minds of customers and prospects. Tactics will change and improve and messaging may move depending on market conditions, but having a clear sense of what the company is to itself and the market and how your marketing falls in line with that identity.
If you are in charge of carrying the flag for your marketing efforts make sure you are taking time to find a clear path to success. That focus will keep you, your team and your company moving forward in the right direction.