At this point in the second quarter, last year’s taxes are done and the income numbers for this year are starting to set in. As people forecast their budgets and make adjustments for their quarterly earnings, it’s wise to look more than a few feet in front of you.

“We always encourage our clients in April to look ahead to October and November. Second quarter goals are fine, but the real test of a marketing strategy is in the gap come the fourth quarter,” Andrea Brendis, of MediaSpark. “If you start planning earlier, you could close that gap before it even has a chance to open.

The longer you wait to get your radio, television, and digital spots, the more expensive—and more competitive—those spots become. By securing your media buys early in the year, you can save yourself significant dollars, giving you less ground to make up if you fall behind. Not only that, every time slot and buy you snag is one less your competitors can grab.

More than the financial savings, there is also the benefit of having a long-term marketing plan in place. “The last minute has no place in a marketing strategy,” says Patsy Sumner, MediaSpark founder. “It may not last very long, but it’s costly, stressful, and has a high probability of failure.”

While there may be plenty of room for metaphors about sprints and marathons when it comes to your marketing strategy, it’s all about the finish line. “From the beginning of the year, you know where you want your company to go,” says Sumner. “Why wait until final days to get there?”