It would appear that 2014 was the year of the “hurry up and wait” approach to business and marketing. That would be true if we hadn’t seen it in 2013 as well. And although we hear about the ever increasing speed with which business occurs, we see the same hesitance to move when it comes to entering new markets, approaching new customers or aggressively approaching the customers our clients already have.
How fast do you move?
Years ago we did annual planning for all clients in September and aggressively executed in Q4 to make for a strong Q1 launch. In recent years, we’ve seen annual planning go the way of the dinosaur. That doesn’t mean people don’t develop annual marketing budgets, but the strategies that informed these budgets are gone…replaced with quarterly panics and catch-up execution.
The days of the 9-month product launch are gone. Increasingly entire markets and categories are made in quarters, and yet most people’s planning processes and sense of urgency seem stuck in the past.
Modo Modo Agency has helped companies rebrand and launch in 60 or 90 days. We’ve helped clients overhaul their Web presence and launch new sites complete with SEO/SEM programs in 3 to 4 months. And even still, the prospects that approach us with the greatest sense of urgency often take 4 months or more in simply selecting an agency. (Well, it isn’t a simple process…but it needs to be faster.)
Selecting an agency, approving a budget and actually creating materials to launch aren’t the end of the exercise…they are just the beginning. It often takes a quarter or two to begin getting a read on what’s working in the market. Commit this year to three things:
- If you need to be in the market in 3 months, you need to select your partner today, agree to an approach next week and begin execution. Do it.
- If you need to reflect revenue this quarter, you need to green light some activity for quick wins while continuing the work on more strategic efforts to appear the following quarter. This means not over-thinking today’s executions in order to get them in front of prospects and customers.
- If you don’t know what you should be spending on your total marketing effort, green light some amount you can live with so your in-house team or marketing partner can start determining what type of results ANY spend will get you. Your initial budget is rarely the right one. It should be right-sized in retrospect, based on the response and revenue that are being realized.
Take 2015…and your competition…by the horns. If we meet next week and approve a budget the following week, you will be launching in Q2. Based on your sales cycle, you’ll begin recognizing that revenue in Q3 or Q4. If that isn’t fast enough, we’ll work to accelerate the plan with you. Being realistic of the runway you need to get to revenue is critical to your success in the market…and your success on the balance sheet. And then next year…let’s have this conversation in September so you’re hitting the first of the year “in the market” and not “on a white board.” We know you can do it. And we are here to help.