Everyone seems to be running around like crazy now trying to get the last bit of positive result they can for 2014. I see it in my client’s goals. I see it in the sales being offered in the mall (ok so the Black Friday sales that were supposed to be for one day only are still on…go figure?). I hear it in every pitch I make to a potential new client; and, most importantly, I see it in every marketing piece that is coming out now. The world seems to be in a very heightened state of goal achievement and each one of has a role to play in this end of the year exercise.
For companies that have not thought long and hard about 2015 yet, the time to plan is upon us. Before we know it, the calendar page will turn and we will be back at our desks trying to get as much out of our first quarter as humanly possible. Right now, we are stuck in the time-space continuum of the year and the public relations and marketing decisions we make today will truly shape our year tomorrow.
There are always customer, vendors, clients and friends that look at this part of the year as a sort of “senior slump” but the truth is that this is the best time to plan and engage ourselves so that when the calendar page turns, we are not only prepared, but already achieving! While vacations and school holidays are important; and time together with family is special, it is important to consider the old adage that “the early bird catches the worm.” In other words, those that put in some preparation now, will greatly benefit later.
Preparation can be defined in many ways. To the athlete, preparation is day-to-day mental and physical exercise that makes him/her stronger and more agile at the sport(s) they perform. To the singer, preparation may be finding a new piece to learn, learning to sing that piece, and, of course, practicing one’s vocal exercises. Preparation for a public relations and marketing person is no different; we must engage our minds, study our client’s competitors, and plan for the year ahead. What better time to do this then when many of those we reach out to on a daily basis are away on vacation?
As a client, do you know enough about your competitors and their products/services? If not, now is the time to learn. Do you know who their target customers are and how they are reaching them? Again, if not, now is the time to learn. Do you understand their message and how it resonates with their constituencies? Regardless of your answer to this question, now is the time to learn, update, and prepare your outreach plan(s) for next year. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
So I challenge you to take just one step toward your preparation for next year. Make a detailed list of what you want to accomplish and by when. Then look from your goals backward to see where you stand today and how far you are from achieving those goals. Then, make a plan. A simple plan of how you will get from where you are today to being able to cross those goals off of your list. That’s it. Simple. Take the first step today. Then another. And another. One day, all of those little steps, when linked together, will equal the accomplishment you planned for.