As I’m writing this article, there are less than three weeks left until the new year. This is always an exciting time, but for many healthcare communicators and marketers, it can also be stressful as we rush to finish annual plans for the upcoming year.
One of the biggest challenges in our work and personal lives is trying to do too much at once. When we break things up into smaller chunks of dedicated focus, we have a better chance at success. That is especially true in healthcare, which constantly seems to throw obstacles and unforeseen developments in our way.
Luckily, our work year is naturally broken up into four quarters. That structure offers a good way to create a “macro” level of structure for annual marketing or communication plans.
Several years ago, I started aligning each quarter to a specific theme.
Q1: January – March. It’s all about focus
This is where your plan can easily get off track. Be aware of the distractions and stay focused.
Q2: April – June. It’s all about learning
It’s hard to make time to figure out what you need to learn and how you will do it. Yet, it’s tremendously important. Spend time now thinking about what you want to prioritize in the summer and fall months.
Q3: July – September: It’s all about measurement
Knowing whether what you’re doing is working or not is the key to good planning for the upcoming year. Q3 is the perfect time to gather information from your business partners.
Q4: October – December: It’s all about planning
If you don’t have a plan in place – or at least as strong outline of what you want to do when you hit 2024 – you will be behind from day one. That’s not a place you want to find yourself in.
👇 Resource: See a slide version with more details for how to approach each quarter:
Be flexible and adjust as needed
Of course, these four quarterly strategies aren’t 100% mutually exclusive. There will always be a bit of overlap. For instance, learning isn’t something you should only look at in Q2. However, it’s a great time to see if you’ve been making it priority and double down if you haven’t. Many of the annual conferences take place in the late summer and early fall, so it's a natural time to set your plans.
Every year, I reflect on the quote below from William Arthur Ward as a reminder on the importance of being flexible.
Good luck in 2023! As always, it will be important to support each other.
Disclaimer: No part of this article was generated by AI. Hate it, love it or “meh” – it was all written by the author, me.