A well-developed, well-thought-out marketing project can mean the difference between becoming a pop-culture icon and losing millions of dollars, not to mention market share. (Just ask Coca-Cola about that one.)

The customer’s perception of your product or brand, your entire sales effort, and even your company’s identity can be determined by a marketing program.

Depending on the amount of research involved and the number of fingers in the pie, marketing plans that work can potentially take weeks or months to formulate. There simply are no shortcuts.

We have never heard anyone say, “This is the best last-minute marketing program ever.” We have heard people say that procrastination is the “enemy of progress” and the “thief of time.” With biting words such as “enemy” and “thief” historically used to describe procrastination, why in the world would you put off planning your marketing program until the last minute?

It never pays to procrastinate when you’re in marketing. When you wait until the last minute, you rush things. When you rush things, you sacrifice quality. When you sacrifice quality, you make more mistakes. And when you make mistakes in marketing, it could result in devastating losses for your company.

With that much riding on your marketing program, you simply cannot afford to do things halfway. You owe it to your company—and to yourself—to give yourself as much time as possible to do proper research and make good decisions that will position your product or brand to succeed.