If you have ever used a to-do list, you would appreciate how much it helps you keep track of your activities for the day and remain productive. Truth is, if you have used a great to-do list in the past, you will be reluctant to work without one. Why? It helps you maintain productivity!
Marketing Calendars can be likened to your to-do list. They help a marketing team keep track of their activities and remain productive. In fact, it is near impossible to find a marketing team that is on top of their game and is doing this without an effective Marketing Calendar!
However, just like having a to-do list does not instantly make you productive, so does having a marketing calendar not make a marketing team instantly effective. In fact, if your marketing calendar is done wrong, it will leave your marketing team worse off.
For a Marketing Calendar to be effective it has to be done right. This article will be guiding you on how to plan a Marketing Calendar that actually works. As you will see, it is not rocket science. Let’s get on with it!
What is a Marketing Calendar?
Bigcommerce.com defines a Marketing Calendar as a plan that covers your marketing activity for an entire year. It requires the investment of time and resources when building it, however, it pays off later. Visit https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-answers/what-marketing-calendar-and-why-it-important/#, for more details.
Evinex.com defines a Marketing Calendar as a written road map for marketing activities. It is a plan that covers all your marketing activities for a year. It visualizes your marketing process and when to complete each marketing strategy. In other words, it is an actionable tool to achieve your marketing goals in a specific period. See https://www.evinex.com/marketing-calendar/, for more details.
From the above, it is clear that a Marketing Calendar, as the name suggests, is a calendar or schedule, which covers all the marketing activities an organization wishes to embark on in a particular year.
It details the whole marketing activities for a whole year, month by month, week by week, to help everyone in the marketing team remain on the same page.
What is the Purpose of Marketing Calendar?
So what is the purpose of a marketing calendar? Why do organizations invest so much time and resources into designing marketing calendars? In this section, we will be looking at some of these reasons.
However, it is important to also note here that the purpose of Marketing Calendars is also their benefits. Let’s discuss a few of them quickly.
To plan ahead
You must have heard the cliché that if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail. This is one reason why organizations invest in Marketing Calendars. They do this to plan ahead for the new marketing year and increasetheir chances for success.
To serve as a guide
In an earlier definition, a marketing calendar was defined as a road map. This is another purpose for designing marketing calendars. To serve as a guide to all members of the marketing department.
This is especially important for large corporations. The Marketing Calendar will serve as a guide for all members of the marketing department, and help them stay on track regardless of their location per time.
Notify Progress Status
The Marketing Calendar helps every member of the marketing team to know how much progress they have made so far. Since it details the entire marketing activities for a whole year, month by month, it is easy for any member of the team to take a look at the calendar and see how much progress they have made and what is yet undone.
Improves Team Performance
Since the marketing calendar contains details of every marketing activity for a specific period, and the persons responsible for each; it is easier for all members to know their responsibilities and handle them.
This will lead to an improvement in the general performance of the entire marketing team. And an improvement in the marketing team’s performance means more success and sales for the organization.
Makes it easier to plan for the future
Making effective plans, among other things requires time. Having a marketing calendar, will notify the marketing team about major events in the future, and give them adequate time to plan.
And having enough time to plan, already improves the chances of their coming up with a great plansince it takes time to plan for major marketing events or programs.
How to Plan a Marketing Calendar That Actually Works
To Plan, a Marketing Calendar that actually works, take the following steps, and you will be excited at what you will arrive at.
Set Your Goals and identify your strategy
Before you start writing out your marketing calendar, it is necessary to, first of all, identify or review your marketing goals and strategy. What does this mean?
Every marketing calendar is designed to achieve a marketing goal. So your marketing goals are theobjectives for your marketing calendar. Without someproperly identified goals, it is largely impossible to design a marketing calendar that works.
Examples of Marketing Goals include objectives like increasing sales by 30% by the end of the year, increasing brand exposure, etc.
Next is your marketing strategy. According to Investopedia, a marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
It contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements. See https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing-strategy.asp#, for more details.
It is needless to say that without this marketing strategy in place, it would be impossible to build a marketing calendar either.
So as you set out to design your marketing calendar, ensure to identify your marketing goals and strategy. As they are the foundational concepts that must be in place to enable you to design a marketing calendar that works.
Identify Your Target Audience
Your target audience are persons who are most likely interested in the products or services your organization has to offer.For instance, the target audience for a baby products manufacturing company will be young parents who are still having and raising kids.
It is important to identify your target audience as they are the persons you are trying to influence to buy your products and services. If you cannot identify them, how can you influence their buying decisions?
There are great resources online that can help you identify your target audience easily. Here are a few websites with helpful resources that will help you locate your target audience:
Identify Your Channels
The next step is to identify the channels through which you wish to reach your target audience. There are several channels through which you can reach your target audience, however, the nature of your target audience determines the channel that will be most effective in reaching them.
For instance, if your target audience are teenagers and people in their twenties, the most effective channel will be social media,since these persons are very active on social media. Below are a few channels through which you can reach your target audience:
- YouTube, etc.
Your marketing goals and strategy should also play a role in your decision on which channels you select.
Choose the template for your marketing calendar
There are various templates available for you to design your marketing calendar. The real question is which will be best for your marketing team?
If the calendar is to be used by different persons from various locations, it might be best to opt for a software version. Alternatively, if you have a tech-savvy marketing team, you might be better off with a software-based marketing calendar.
However, your decision on the format of the marketing calendar you opt for should be based on what your team will be most comfortable with. Below are some available formats for creating your marketing calendar:
- Excel/Google sheets.
- Word/Google docs.
- Google Calendar.
Define Roles In Your Marketing Team
Among other reasons, Marketing Calendars are effective because they specify the roles each member of the Marketing team will play over a specified period.
That is why it is so necessary to define the roles of each member of the marketing team at this stage in your planning process. These are the roles to be divided among the members of the marketing team:
Team Lead: The lead participates in the whole process, from planning to improvements, and gives final approval on each phase.
Editorial Manager: The editorial manager oversees marketing calendars and contactsthe persons responsible for carrying out each task captured on the marketing calendar.
Content Creators:They are responsible for transforming content ideas into written content/video content.
Content Editor:As the name suggests, the content editor modifies and improves content produced by the content creators.
Designers:The designers are responsiblefor adding visual improvements to the content produced by the content creators. These improvements can be photos, gifs, etc.
Developer: Developers visualize and control the complete content on the website and software.
Analytics manager: The analyst tracks metrics for the content and analyzes them for future improvements.
These roles are critical for a marketing calendar to be effective. However, if you cannot afford this number of persons or lack some skills in your group, you can outsource some of these functions and still enjoy their benefits.
Determine Activities In Your Marketing Calendar
Every marketing calendar features programs and activities and so should yours.
At this stage, outline the programs and activities that should be featured in your marketing calendar. To help you arrive at just the best initiatives, you might want to research your past activities. Find out what worked and improve on them.
Furthermore, you can also research the activities of your competition and see what is working for them. You can improve on this, and customize it to suit the uniqueness of your organization.
These are a few ways to gain insight into the activities you wish to add to your Marketing calendar. Further research will unveil other options that you can explore.
Determine what metrics to track
Every plan requires a monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance and to measure progress. The marketing calendar is not any different. It needs some viable monitoring mechanisms to track progress and the efficiency of the entire marketing programs.
Setting KPIs (key performance indicators) related to the results you look forward to achieving will be helpful here. They will help you keep track of the progress or failure you are recording in your marketing.
To learn more about setting marketing KPI’s, see any of the following links:
Update Your Marketing Calendar
As you may have noticed, we have only been gathering data all this while. Now it’s time to actually fill your marketing calendar with all that you have decided to include so far. After that, your marketing calendar will be ready for submission to relevant authorities for approval.
After updating your calendar, it is advised that you review it with the entire marketing team to ensure all errors are edited. Furthermore, reviewing it with the whole team ensures that everyone is on board with the programs for the year.
Finally, these are simplified steps on how to Plan a Marketing Calendar that works. You might encounter some challenges as you attempt to design your calendar. However, the key thing is to keep at it until you are done.
As you keep designing your marketing calendars, you will keep getting better at it so much so that it will become a really easy process for you.
To your success as you proceed to design your marketing calendar that works!