Congratulations, the festive season is over, and you’ve made the long slog through January’s various landmarks – Fat Cat Thursday, Blue Monday, etc. January is traditionally a time to set your personal goals and make big plans for the coming year, whether it’s to lose 15lbs (getting you to your target weight from last year’s resolution to lose 10lbs) or aiming for something more grand in your chosen field of sports, science or the arts. A New Year feels like a new start, and a (hopefully) relaxing break over Christmas gives us the energy and enthusiasm to set our sights high for the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, back in the office…
January feels like a horribly finite end to the light-hearted festivities and general good mood that surrounds the magical month of December. You spent your first day back dealing with your inbox, and the rest of the week trying to get up to speed again. From then on, the month is punctuated by meetings, meetings and meetings about meetings, with the only saving grace being that everyone you normally deal with on a day-to-day basis is feeling just as harangued.
It’s fair to say that, for many businesses, January could be generously described as a ‘quiet time’, where little genuine progress is made. It’s a time for businesses to plan their modest Q1 aims and far more ambitious Q2-4 goals; January is about getting all your ducks in a row for the coming year. But now that January is finally out of the way, it’s time for the real work to start.
February is always a busy time for the world of marketing, with advertising schedules, editorial calendars and upcoming campaigns changing from an ethereal concept – one that seems to have been discussed endlessly since Christmas – to something more substantial and detailed. If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to get your marketing plans for the year sorted. And not just in terms of rough ideas – aim for a fully fleshed out and costed plan. Equally importantly, make sure you know the exact submission dates for any advertising or editorial that’s part of your strategy, then work backwards from that date using realistic timescales to work out when you need to start each project.
Being organised and working well ahead of schedules ensures that you can create high quality content that will engage with your target markets and help you to achieve your goals. And, you never know, being the first company in your sector to address seasonal needs may give you a head start on your competitors. Regardless of what you’re planning, being able to deliver it well ahead of schedule will ensure you can allocate resources appropriately and make your life easier in the long run. So look at your calendar and start planning now; I can guarantee that those deadlines will come up a lot quicker than you think!