How far in advance do you plan your marketing initiatives? Months? Weeks? Or are you constantly getting your promotions out by the seat of your pants? If you want to maximize your ROI, you need to have your campaigns planned well in advance. The following details why smart marketers plan ahead.

1. High-quality, mistake-free marketing materials
Planning ahead affords you the time to create high-quality, mistake-free marketing materials. The last thing you want is for glaring typos to cheapen your pitch – or, even worse, poor word or image selection to become a PR nightmare.
When you plan ahead, you can solicit valuable feedback that will help you identify and correct problems before they reach the public eye. You can let your sales copy and designs simmer for a few days, then revisit them to see if you can find ways to improve. You can take your time with paper stock and print finishing selection for the perfect presentation, which will lead to increased sales.

2. Testing, testing 1-2-3
Planning ahead also grants ample time for testing: test your messaging with different audiences, A/B test your marketing materials against a targeted audience, and collect valuable data and feedback you can use to improve your campaigns.
Testing takes a little time and investment now, but can pay off huge dividends. You won’t have to waste money and resources on ideas that won’t work, and you can devote your time to improving response rates for ideas that will work.

3. Beat your competitors
The early bird gets the worm, and planning your marketing campaigns early also lets you launch your marketing campaigns early – well before your competitors. This is especially critical as we get into the holiday season: small businesses can’t beat the big box stores on pricing, but you can beat them to the punch and offer greater convenience and enhanced customer service.

4. Take advantage of last-minute marketing opportunities
With your core marketing campaigns planned and scheduled well ahead of time, you can take advantage of last-minute marketing opportunities that give your brand the edge over competitors. Your holiday postcards and catalogs might be printed and scheduled for delivery, for example, so you can get on Facebook to engage directly with customers and offer spontaneous specials that drive sales through the roof.
Planning early lets you augment your campaigns to capitalize on news, seasonal trends, and customer feedback – all opportunities lost if you’re behind on your marketing initiatives.

5. Reduce stress and increase free time
Finally, life as a marketer can be hectic; but when you plan ahead, you don’t have to stress over the details. Rather, you can relax knowing your marketing plan is a well-oiled machine primed for success. Moreover, you can afford to take some time off and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Dedicate yourself to planning your marketing campaigns well in advance, and you’re practically guaranteed to enjoy better results, greater profits, a less stressful workplace, and an enhanced lifestyle. That’s why smart marketers plan ahead!