Learn to Create and Use a Marketing Calendar
The things that you keep in your toolbox can help you in the success of your marketing goals. A primary and essential tool is the marketing calendar. A marketing calendar assists you in launching your marketing vehicles in a way that can drive you to your goal using a structured and thought-out manner so that nothing is forgotten. Your marketing calendar serves as your blueprint and identifies what messaging you will use and how and what channels you will use to distribute that message.
Your marketing calendar can keep you on track, making sure that you are using every opportunity that you have to market without lapsing in your efforts. With it, you can rest assured that your planning, budgeting, and staffing are taken care of. This alone could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
The key to you a marketing calendar is to create one that works for you and your team. Be flexible with it and don't be afraid to customize it to your needs. Your marketing calendar should enable you to coordinate all your marketing efforts and done correctly it will assist you in budgeting your strategy and tactics. It should serve as a helpful tool and not a tedious burden to complete.
How to Create and Use a Marketing Calendar
As I mentioned, marketing calendars can be created to address your specific needs. The most successful marketing calendars that I have seen incorporate all your marketing activities with details broken out week by week for each quarter.
Tip: Start with a blank 12-month calendar and chart the selling cycle and seasonality of the products and or services that you offer. Doing this will help to build the foundation to create messaging that centers around your target market and ensure that you are promoting during the keys times that prospective customers are looking for what you offer.
A calendar will be best used if it is specific, spelling out individual promotions or events. I've personally found it best in my experience to include the marketing cost for each event and the results that came from the event. By doing this, it is easy to see at a glance which events and strategies were productive and on target. This aids you in planning your marketing in the future.
Consider including the following in your marketing calendar to ensure that you have a complete look at all your marketing efforts at a glance.
- Advertising Campaigns
- Content Pieces
- Public Relations / Media Relations
- Social Media Campaigns
- Email Marketing
- Point of Purchase Displays or Signage Efforts
By doing this, you are able to build consistency in your planning. This helps in preventing marketing lapses that cause the "feast and famine" effect that many businesses experience.
Remember to be flexible when creating your calendar. Rest assured that there is no right or wrong way, it's really about what works for you. The purpose of your marketing calendar is to create results - this is just the first piece to mapping to those results.
Remember this is only a template; you will want to adapt it to fit the needs of your business.