It’s the fourth quarter, and for most companies with a fiscal year starting in January, it means it’s marketing budget time. To kick things off, here’s a favorite quote of mine, author unknown; “You can’t steer a ship that’s not underway.”
There’s a lot of debate regarding the relevance of strategic planning. Some view strategic planning as a waste of time since most strategic planning is either a futile once a year exercise that is dusted off the following year, or an endless cycle that drags through September of the following year without clear goals and outcomes that are actionable.
The other school of thought is act now, plan later. Plan along as you move along–and keep moving.
There’s something to be said for both.
Overall, the marketing planning process for the next fiscal year should take only about 8 weeks. You need to plan for the following year, get leadership buy-in, establish funding and then start with execution.
Of course, as the business adjusts, so you also tweak your plan—nothing is set in stone. You don’t want to sit in the water going thru endless cycles, but you also need to plan so that you don’t become reactionary to changing market dynamics.
Do your strategic marketing planning, but don’t spend more than two months on it. And then get going. Don’t be a victim of analysis paralysis.