“Implicit in most marketing plans is an assumption about the future. Yet marketing plans based on what will happen in the future are usually wrong.” — Jack Trout & Al Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
This is why we don’t make year-long marketing plans.
A strategy could last you a year or more, yes, but a plan of action? How could it?
Things change. Events intrude into our lives. So it’s a massive waste of resources to build a marketing plan that presumes to know the future.
Does that mean you never plan? No, it just means plans are short, immediate, and constrained.
And they are meant to be acted upon, not merely talked about and put on a shelf to be looked at later.
Your strategy—the structure you put in place to work efficiently toward your goals—that can be long-term, and may last you years.
But the plans it inspires and requires should be time-bound, should be focused on present conditions, and should be implementable by anyone who has the plan in their hands.
If your plan can sit on a shelf for a year and be dusted off and implemented later, it wasn’t a plan. It was probably an idea, a suggestion, a hope, a dream—or, most often, a list of goals.
If it was a plan, it would have expired by now because it would have told you exactly what to do, by when, and how to do it. And the conditions it was built upon would have changed.
So, stop trying to plan for the future.
Instead, prepare for the future by having a strategy, a structure, to constrain and guide your actions no matter what happens next.
And create plans to design and implement those actions when, where, and how they’re needed most.