For some marketers flying by the seat of your pants can be fun, especially as the deadline thunders towards you and the adrenalin kicks in, handing in briefs at the last minute or not starting until it is so late, nights are inevitable. For me, that’s a horrible way to work and I can’t do it like that.
Last minute planning, isn’t planning at all, it is winging it. That’s fine if you work alone, but if there is a team involved, it has a knock-on effect that puts unnecessary pressure on everyone, not just yourself.
I always plan in detail well in advance, probably further than I need to do, but I like that comforting feeling it’s all sketched out, I know what resources I need and I know there is enough time to do it really well.
That’s not to say the whole project or campaign is set in stone, there has to be flex with any idea, but I know who will do what and by when far enough in advance that I can afford to be flexible. Last minute rushes don’t have the time to execute a new idea properly so are in effect much less flexible.
My tips for planning any marketing campaign are:
- Start from your deadline and work backwards.
- Consider everyone in the team, not just yourself.
- What other projects/ work is everyone involved with that will impact yours?
- Create a Gantt chart with clear timings and responsibilities.
- Be anally specific in any briefs you write. Dictate exactly what YOU want and leave nothing to misinterpretation.
There are no set rules I can give about timings, as every campaign is different, but as a guide if you are using any offline media, these tend to have immovable and have advanced deadlines, so plan for those first. For example, I usually hand over a spec to a designer 3-4 weeks before a magazine advert deadline and that deadline is usually a month before it hit the shelves.
When it comes to online marketing such as banners, you can afford to run a little closer to the sun publishing the adverts, however in terms of the designers, I like to give them at least a month for a new page on the website and at least a couple of weeks for email images and new banners.