“Measure twice, cut once.” You’ve probably heard this common phrase, emphasizing the importance of planning and preparation. There is an even older maxim from the Medieval times, used by carpenters and tailors, which translates to “measure seven times, cut once” That’s more like it when it comes to major marketing initiatives.
Time waits for no one, and in the fast-paced world of B2B technology, this adage rings especially true. If your organization is planning a significant marketing initiative for 2024—be it a rebranding effort, a new messaging strategy, a corporate acquisition or merger, or a major product (or company) launch—waiting until the new year to begin your preparations is a critical mistake. The importance of using Q4 as your strategic springboard cannot be overstated. Here’s why.
Sometimes marketing can seem like magic, the outcomes can be amazing… a shiny new brand and website launch, the perfect message that nails the value you bring to the market, the splash created by a well-executed product launch. It’s essential to comprehend that large marketing initiatives are not merely ‘projects’. They are complex, laden with interdependencies, requiring the orchestration of a multitude of variables, stakeholders, savvy strategy, and laser-focused execution. For instance, new branding is not just about a revamped logo and color scheme but also includes internal alignment, customer perception, legal compliances, and the integration of the brand across numerous digital and physical touchpoints.
Bottom line… to get the best outcome, invest the time and be realistic about expectations. And if you want to get any initiative out the door early in Q1, better start today.
For any company, C-level executives have stringent demands for business outcomes, meticulous planning and iterative execution are requisites. Brand and messaging work, websites, product/company launches and M&A integration all require research, stakeholder/customer interviews, market and competitive analyses, and more. This process alone can span several months before the plan is built. The actual rollout, from internal briefings to market launch, can take an equally long, and often more.
Consider a website build as a microcosm. You will start by defining your target personas, along with their motivations, barriers, and ‘shopping’ behavior. You will align your sales, marketing and business goals with the website’s design and functionality. You will undertake a full competitive analysis of other website and social channels. Typically, it will involve some messaging changes to evaluate in conjunction with your current position and product/service offerings. A comprehensive SEO and UX strategy will be required. You must have a visual brand identity to follow during the design process if this is a new or ‘facelift’ site. There are many decisions and plans to get right before actual development begins.
A well-thought-out budget allocation for a major marketing initiative stems from meticulous planning and strategic foresight. It goes beyond mere earmarking of funds for the next financial year, encompassing a deep understanding of cash flow implications, risk mitigation, and ROI projections. When marketing initiative planning is executed only in Q1 2024, it risks rushed decision-making and potential budget overshoots – or worse, underfunding. However, when the groundwork begins in Q4 2023, it paves the way for a more comprehensive strategy that seamlessly aligns with both short-term and long-term organizational goals. This proactive approach ensures that the budget is not an isolated decision but a well-integrated outcome of prior planning, enabling a more efficient and goal-oriented allocation of resources for the upcoming marketing initiative.
Comprehensive marketing transformations necessitate collaborative efforts across various departments. The sales team is crucial, offering indispensable perspectives on consumer demands and inclinations. Leaders in product or service management contribute by delineating clear capabilities and future trajectories. Meanwhile, finance stewards the resources, ensuring the economic viability of the endeavor, as top executives chart the overall strategic direction and aims.
Take, for instance, the introduction of a new brand message. The preparatory internal work is often just as expansive as its external execution. Achieving departmental consensus demands considerable time, concerted effort, and a coherent communication of the strategy, objectives, and anticipated outcomes to the entire company.
In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, the early bird gets the worm. Launching your initiative earlier in the year not only gains you market share but also mindshare. Stakeholders and customers are more likely to associate your brand with innovation and leadership, rather than as a ‘me-too’ follower.
A substantial project is planned and executed to maximize growth—one of the catalysts to growth is being well-positioned at the right time. By gaining that competitive advantage early, it streamlines your sales runway, and the results compound over the course of a year—it gives you a multiplier effect.
Q4 is often viewed as a time for reflection and strategizing for the next year. But when a major marketing initiative is on the horizon, Q4 must transform into a hub of actionable insight, planning, and preliminary execution. In high-tech B2B environments, where the decision-makers are primarily concerned with robust business outcomes and long-term value creation, the lead time afforded by starting in Q4 2023 is not just an operational advantage; it’s a strategic imperative.
If a major business transformation initiative is on the horizon, start your engines now to ensure that come 2024, your major marketing initiative not only lifts off but soars.
Planning and strategy is what we do! If you ever need to talk through your marketing goals and initiatives for next year, feel free to Contact Us.