Marketing professional services firms is enormously distracting. There are a million demands on you and your team's time and it is all too easy to get bogged down in doing stuff.
The stuff, of course, needs doing. Events do not run themselves, a call from a journalist will need a near instant response, social media shouts at us 24 hours a day, and that pitch will have an immovable deadline.
That makes it all the more important to step back and put time in the diary to think.
Ignore and step above the daily calls for tactical activity and think big. Look at the bigger picture, the wider market and the issues that are likely to shape or drive future activity. Think strategically.
This can be a solitary exercise or it can involve the entire team.
For some, sitting in a quiet room with nothing more than a notepad and pen will work; others find it more helpful to bounce ideas of their colleagues.
One approach that I have found to work is to take the team out of the office for an hour once a month. Involve a speaker to give a short 10 minute talk to spark discussion and debate. Keep discussion away from the day-to-day activity and what the firm should be doing next year or in five years' time.
Think laterally about speakers: a craftsman making, for example, a handmade cricket bat or the CMO from a large client is likely to be more interesting than a marketing guru.
However you approach it, it is a rewarding habit.
Instead of reading articles about the latest technological trends, marketers should spend that time on strategic thinking about their brand’s goals.