Lots of people bemoan the fact that February often rolls around before their business marketing plan is complete. I’m here to stop the guilt once and for all. In my mind, February is the BEST month to write a marketing plan. Here’s why:
Most operational plans are not completed until the end of January. In order to create a successful marketing plan, you’ve got to have measurable goals or objectives that align with the overall organization’s goals. This is impossible to do UNTIL you are thoroughly educated on the company’s plans for the coming year. Taking time to review the overall goals is important to building a marketing plan with the correct focus.
Your competitors often jump out of the starting gate too fast. In other words, it’s not a bad thing to wait and see what your next best competitor is doing in terms of new promotions or launches. Watching and waiting can help you fine tune your own marketing strategies to best the competition after their direction is already set.
Just as your business creates new goals, so do your target customers. If you’re creating personas as I think you should, January is a great time to trend watch, particularly if you’re a consumer brand. Some things come into fashion and others go out, and you can spend your time doing surveys, re-engaging in social media and really understanding the personal goals of your target audience. Knowing your best customer really, really well might mean understanding how they’re “turning over a new leaf” and incorporating into their plans. (By the way, if you want a good primer for finding your best customer, here’s a SlideShare presentation I did last fall on the topic.)
If you’re a nonprofit organization, or in any way need to solicit donors or volunteers, you may need to give your audience a BREAK. People are inundated with requests to “give” in some way or another during the holidays. January might just be a great “bye” month to measure what was responded to, how they converted from your various efforts, and how you may need to tweak things in 2015. If you’re a consumer brand, it’s likely your audience also was slammed with offers. Back off – they just might start to miss you!
January goes by too fast anyway. If you’re like me, you’re focused on getting your clients on track for the year as well as putting your previous year to bed from a business standpoint. You just might be a little too distracted to focus on the best marketing opportunities for your business. Hopefully you’ve turned the corner in February and things are getting in the groove. Marketing plans take creativity also, and January may just not have had the room for that extra space you need to ideate.
Take a big breath and go stand on your head, or meditate, or run, or whatever you do when your best ideas come in. Forget about the guilt and have your plan ready to go by the time March rolls in!
Need a little help with creating your plan? Here’s a sneak peek at my new Marketing eBook – How to Write a Marketing Plan in 15 Minutes a Day. It’s totally free and you can download it here.