- A marketing calendar is the game plan for your business to succeed. Just like a football team needs a playbook, your business needs a marketing plan.
- Do the initial planning to schedule marketing for the year and have the freedom to focus on execution and fulfillment afterward.
- Explore the many tools at your disposal and choose the one that best suits your organization.
Setting up a marketing calendar for your business can not only help you organize and plan – it can also be one of the most effective ways to set up your brand for marketing success.
Think of it as a professional sports team. If you’re in the NFL, chances are you’re a great athlete, but you need a coach, a team, a playbook, and practice to win the game. The same goes for marketing: you can have a great marketing tactic, but it’s only when it’s practiced, tested, and unified as part of a larger marketing strategy that it will shine.
A marketing calendar is a great guide for the year ahead. To help your team be successful when building a marketing calendar, we’ll look at three main segments: goals, plan, and execution.
Editor’s Note: Looking for the right project management software for your business? Complete the questionnaire below to have our supplier partners contact you about your needs.
Goals: what do you want to achieve?
How will your marketing help you achieve your business goals? What specific goals do you have for marketing? These are two key metrics that will guide your marketing calendar. Each business will have different goals, most likely related to the sales and marketing scales within those goals.
Before developing a timeline, make sure you have a clear idea of the business goals your marketing will help you achieve. Then start planning a marketing calendar with the tactics that will best help you achieve those goals.
Plan: Having the plan in place gives you the power to leverage your time
If you’re running a growing small business, the time you need to focus on marketing is your busy time — and you can’t focus on marketing because you’re caught up in execution. If you’ve taken the time to set up your marketing calendar ahead of time, it will go as planned and you’ll reap the benefits of that advance planning.
What should a marketing calendar contain?
In other words, what’s going on in the plan? According to LinkedIn Marketing, this includes tasks such as planning blog posts, developing and placing ads, and it includes who is responsible for the project, results and budget. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a complex project management tool, depending on your size and the sophistication of your staff and your needs. The important thing is to follow the projects, the schedule, the investment of the personnel and the results.
Execution: This is the strategic piece.
Recurring advertising can be completed in advance, and major events such as special clearance days or holiday promotions should be arranged well in advance and scheduled on the marketing calendar. This way, you will have the resources to cover not only the creation of the necessary materials, but also the manpower to fulfill the resulting business orders.
Plus, when you develop that marketing calendar at the start of the year, it will highlight your shortcomings – what did you miss? Where can you add a clever campaign to differentiate your establishment from the competition?
There are many free and paid marketing calendars to choose from. If you’re considering using any of the subscription services, be sure to test out with a free trial first. If you have a small business, you can settle for a free service.
How do you organize the marketing calendar?
The setup is the hardest part and will depend on your organizational goals and strategy. Make sure you choose a playbook that works for your team, one that you can use as a quarterback using your strengths. If you are a detail person, do not hesitate to have frequent reminders. If you’re more of a big-picture leader, delegate, but make sure the person you’re delegating to understands the accountability they have for results. The time you invest in the beginning will pay off in those continuous touchdowns throughout the year.
Don’t forget the Super Bowl sale!