My target is to always have my annual plans done by Thanksgiving so me and my team can make adjustments in December and ease into the holiday for some rest and recharging. I’ve used this approach as long as I can remember and has always worked well
The article “How to Plan Your Q1 Marketing Strategy” by Entrepreneur offers a comprehensive outlook on developing successful marketing strategies for the first quarter of the year. It highlights crucial aspects like understanding market trends, developing a content plan, and optimizing marketing funnel, among others.
Through this blog post, I want to address something the article misses: the timing of the planning process. Let’s dive into the issue of starting your Q1 marketing planning in January and discuss why it’s not the best approach for your B2B marketing strategy.
The Problem with January Planning
Starting your Q1 marketing strategy in January might seem like a natural idea, considering it’s the beginning of the year. However, it has its drawbacks:
- Playing catch up all year: Delaying marketing planning until January makes it nearly impossible to execute a well-rounded strategy by Q1’s beginning. Consequently, it leads to a loss of momentum.
- Constraints and limitations: Late planning prevents a thorough understanding of the market and the identification of the target audience, significantly hindering the overall execution of your marketing strategy.
The Case for Early Planning
Here’s why I firmly believe that starting your Q1 marketing planning in August or earlier can make all the difference:
- Ample time for comprehensive market research
- Efficiently identifying the target audience
- Sourcing resources and developing an effective strategy
Benefits of Early Planning
Embarking on early planning has several advantages, such as:
- Big picture thinking: Early planning enables you to develop bold, innovative, and goal-driven strategies that go beyond short-term gains.
- Challenge and opportunity identification: By planning early, you can spot potential challenges and opportunities, making it easier for businesses to adjust their approach accordingly.
Remember the adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” – the earlier you start planning, the better your chances to succeed.
Countering Possible Counterarguments
There might be arguments against early planning. Let’s address them:
- “Won’t my plan become outdated?” Regular check-ins and tweaks to your marketing plan will keep it relevant and fresh.
- “I don’t have the resources for early planning.” Starting early does not require extra resources, but it allows for better allocation of your existing resources.
Integrative Marketing Fusion Lesson
Engage with others in the organization, particularly category leaders and sales personnel. They have the best insight into the pulse of the market and competitive landscape – work with them to review your marketing strategy and marketing program calendar. This is a great time to get buy-in and support.
By starting your B2B marketing strategy and planning early in the preceding year, you’re setting yourself up for success. This way, you’ll avoid playing catch up and instead, be ahead of the game.
How does planning work in your world? Anything different that really works for you? Share in the comments below.
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