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It's early November. The air is crisp, leaves are falling, and sweater weather is back. For B2B marketers, that can only mean one thing: planning season.

Are you still there? Those two words are often enough to make marketers scatter like leaves in the winter wind. I've been doing this for a long time, and I haven't found one marketing leader who loves planning. (If you're out there, let me know.)

But despite the annoyance, marketing budget planning is an absolute necessity. Without it, you can't proceed or succeed. And unlike your taxes, you can't file an extension.

For planning 2018, here are the top 4 mistakes almost all marketers tend to make, along with ways to correct them.

1. Spending too much time and energy trying to ascend Mt. Data Sourcing

Many brave marketers have tried to get a head start on their planning journey by hurling themselves at the summit of Mt. Data Sourcing. They invest countless hours scouring data sets, trialing vendors, and merging lists. But, to their horror, they often find that the mountain of data just keeps going: There is no peak.

This year, rather than trying to bag the summit, invest your time in strategic planning. Think about the "who" part of your marketing equation, and focus resources on developing your ideal customer profile (ICP).

B2B marketers who use an AI data platform to do the heavy lifting for ICP discovery find that only an algorithm can tease out the subtle details that make all the difference in picture-perfect customer selection. Often, through this process, they're shocked to find that their customer isn't exactly who they thought—or that they have more than one ICP—because they had initially relied on insufficient data, such as firmographics.

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image of J.J. Kardwell

J.J. Kardwell is CEO and a co-founder of predictive marketing software and sales development solutions provider EverString. Named a top AI Influencer by IBM Watson and Network World, J.J. is a frequent speaker on ABM, AI, predictive marketing, B2B sales & marketing. Contact him at jj@everstring.com.

LinkedIn: J.J. Kardwell

Twitter: @jjkardwell