An NPR producer once spent a few months living in the small college town where rock paper scissors is headquartered. I took him to a demolition derby and he took me up in a two-seat airplane; he was an amateur pilot. It was pretty wild being above the clouds in such a small plane held up by old-school propellers. Especially when he had me take the wheel.
But while we were in the air, he told me a great pilot saying: "You cannot use the runway behind you or the sky above you." Though you would think it would be safer to be closer to the ground, it's safer to be higher away from the ground so that when your engine dies, you have more time to find a good emergency landing location. The same goes for the runway on take-off: Never start in the middle of the runway. Start as far back as you can so that if something comes up, you have more time to strategize and figure out an alternative.
The same approach that works for daredevil pilots works for thinking about the lead time you need for a successful publicity or marketing push. You can start too soon; people wouldn't be ready to make the purchase. But in most cases, it’s easier to start farther back, with ample space and time to make changes in your strategy. The more time you have--the more sky beneath you and runway ahead of you--the better.
If a strategy is not working for your album release, tour publicity, or festival launch, wouldn’t it be nice to have enough time to change course? That doesn’t work so well after an album is released or, worse yet, after a concert is over. Once of the simplest ways to use the runway is to start further back; that is, schedule your release or event with more time.
What are you waiting for? Hurry up and schedule something with more lead time.
Dub MC is sponsored by rock paper scissors, the global music publicity firm.