You observe. You learn. You study. You make your plan. And your backup plan. And you move forward.
There’s just one complication: everything else continues to change.
Those changes will impact you. Your competitors went through a similar planning process. The economy rolls on, changing (or stagnating). People around you set their own plans into motion.
You must be ready to let go of the plan you invested months of your time and energy into and change course.
A Personal Lesson in Changing Course
Yesterday, I went to see the house and land we were in the process of buying. We had made our plans, we were almost ready to close.
Then I saw it. The house had been stripped clean. Cabinets, fixtures, doors, flooring, even the chimney. Gone.
Where the bathroom was, there were now exposed 2x4s in an empty alcove. My heart sank. But things had changed, and I need to accept that my plans will now change too.
Our Marketing Must Change
We live, work and market in a dynamic, changing world, and we expect our plans change and embrace change when it comes.
As you finalize your 2014 plans, are you going into the year looking for opportunities to change your plans? Are you ready to have your final 2014 plan, 12 months from now, look completely different from what you invested your blood, sweat and tears into getting approved? If not, be ready for even more unpleasant and surprising changes.
This isn’t what I planned to publish today, but change around us can touch all of our plans. For more thoughts on preparing to respond to changes, see Three Key Requirements of Agile Marketing as well.
How do you plan so that your marketing is ready for the changes that will happen around you? Share your answer in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).