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4 Steps for Powerful Annual Marketing Planning

When it comes to annual marketing planning, we do things a little differently here at The Origin Company.

Why? Because we know we’re seasonal beings and that our creativity is seasonal and cyclical too.

Most marketing plans focus solely on revenue and output without considering the wellbeing of the people executing them.

But at The Origin Company our motto is: Body first, business second.

If you’re getting ready to do your annual marketing planning (or you want to breathe more life into the plans you already have) use these 4 tips:

1. Think seasonally.

At the end of the day, the people making marketing plans and receiving plans are human beings. We are not statistics. We are not trends. We are individuals with hearts, minds and bodies. We are nature. And nature is seasonal. 

Think through your annual marketing planning with the following things in mind:

  • What do my customers experience in different seasons?
  • What season of their lives are they in?
  • What do I experience in different seasons?
  • How can I support myself and my customers in our seasonal ebbs and flows with my plans?

For example, if you’re a solopreneur who has kids out of school in the summer who markets to people who also have kids home in the summer, you might not want to plan your biggest promotion of the year while school is out.

2. Think cyclically.

One of the things we practice in our company and teach inside the Origin Membership and Heal the Way You Work is a framework called the Upward Cycle of Success.

This framework recognizes that all companies are run by humans who are animals at their core and, thus, behave cyclically to one degree or another.

When you realize this, you break out of the trance we’re under that business should always be linear and instead align your annual marketing planning with the truth of our cyclical nature.

This could look like factoring your menstrual cycle or the lunar cycle into your planning and/or identifying the different phases of the Upward Cycle of Success that each of your projects are in to make sure you’re not skipping important steps or staying stagnant by not moving through the phases when it’s time.

(I wrote a 4-part series on the Upward Cycle of Success that you can read here to learn more.)

3. Know your ABC’s.

All of your different promotions don’t take the same amount of time or resources, so as you do your annual marketing planning it’s really important not to treat them the same.

Instead, break your promos into A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s and then decide how much bandwidth you (and/or your team) have each quarter.

For example, in the Origin Company our promos look something like this:

A’s: We do all the things: an email campaign, paid advertising, social media, media and PR, free content launch runway, some kind of pre-launch content like a webinar or challenge, and possibly even affiliates.

B’s: We do fewer things so perhaps it’s email, social, and blog content.

C’s: We might do a little social, 3 emails and a blog P.S. or be launching to a smaller segment of our list.

D’s: This might be an Instagram live or a feed post plus a solo email and/or a blog P.S.

We know that we only have space and energy to do one A promo per quarter. We might also have space for a B promo if they’re spaced out enough and then C’s and D’s can be peppered in sparingly (or more spontaneously as they come up.) If a quarter didn’t have an A promo, on the other hand, there would be more space for B’s, C’s, and D’s.

We’ve made the mistake of having too many A promos in a row in the past and it burns our team out and it burns our customers out. Thus, we came up with this system.

4. Know that your eyes will likely always be bigger than your schedule.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely pretty ambitious and have some big dreams and goals. I get it. I’m the same way.

But we have to realize that when we try to do too many things, our projects cannibalize each other. We think doing more things will get us more results, but usually it’s the opposite. 

Putting too many things on the schedule during your annual marketing planning will not only set you for exhaustion but will also ensure you don’t hit your goals.

You’re more likely to hit your goals by doing fewer things well instead of more things with not enough bandwidth.

annual marketing planning

It’s time to bring our humanity back to how we run our businesses. Considering seasons, cycles, and your capacity as you do your annual marketing planning is critical as you do this.

If you want the step-by-step annual planning process that we use here at The Origin Company, it’s included as part of Heal the Way You Work.

No matter how you make your plans for next year, know this:

You are most powerful not when you do lots of things, but when you do a few things with devotion.

Happy annual planning!

OVER TO YOU: Which one of the 4 steps was the most surprising to you? How will you incorporate it into your annual marketing planning? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, mother, and founder and CEO of The Origin Company, which reaches hundreds of thousands globally. Kate is committed to supporting ambitious women to light up the world without burning themselves out. She’s the author of Do Less, the Do Less Planner System creator, and runs The Origin Membership, which helps business owners grow their business while doing less.


  • I am studying your work finished the Money Love Relationship. Retired from a wonderful profession (middle school assistant principal) I opened up PopUp business with vintage clothing and heal your life workshops
    Your annual marketing strategies are overwhelming right now so will take what I can and put the rest in file cabinet until I UNDERSTAND

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