How to Build an Effective Marketing Calendar That Works

MARKETING TIPS | 8 MINUTES

The marketing calendar for you is what a playbook is for sports teams. It codifies your marketing strategy in specific moves or strategies, setting you up for success by giving you enough time to plan for contingencies.

More than just a glorified editorial calendar, the marketing calendar allows you to zoom in on granular details and allows you to visualize the bigger picture. Should situations arise where you may need to make adjustments on the fly, having this well laid out will help you stay organized—giving you a more reasonable plan to proceed.

While an editorial calendar may simply display dates for posting schedules, a marketing calendar organizes all of your marketing activities, whether it be online or offline, all in one place.

Some platforms, like MarketPlan, include a free marketing plan tool that lets you integrate your marketing processes for a seamless workflow. However, before worrying about which tool to use, it’s best to get a grip on the basics in creating a marketing plan.

Start with a goal

Every effective marketing calendar rests on a solid bedrock of goals. Before you can plan out your campaign, you must first determine what you want to achieve. Concrete goals keep everyone on the same page, streamlining all efforts towards achieving the same vision.

The best way to write your goals is to ensure that they are “SMART” goals. This acronym is a 5-point guideline that entails you to create a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based goals. In doing so, you would be able to come up with more concrete strategies to attain your laid out goals.

For example, instead of merely saying that you want to be the best company in the world, try framing it more specifically, such as “to achieve an increase of 50 to 70% of our flagship products in the third quarter of 2020.” Another SMART goal would be to “capture at least 50% of the United States market share in our specific industry in 2020.”

These goals are specific and measurable because they let your team know exactly what you are trying to achieve—complete with metrics! Whether or not it is attainable depends on prevailing marketing conditions.

Meanwhile, market share and sales ratings are always relevant; and besides that, they are time-bound because it is specified when you intend to achieve those goals.

These goals need to be codified, but they don’t need to be cast in stone. You can modify your objectives as you go, depending on specific marketing conditions.
Still, a marketing calendar keeps you updated and on-track of those goals, giving you time to plan for any last-minute or special situations, such as holiday promotions and clearance sales.

Layout your schedule

A marketing calendar is not just a day-by-day schedule of your social media posts. Instead, it is an organized timeline of marketing activities that do include an editorial calendar—but should also contain schedules for planning and execution!

This is especially true if your marketing strategy involves both online and offline efforts. Many companies like to present a united marketing effort in multiple platforms, making a marketing calendar all the more vital.

For example, suppose that you are a big-box store looking to advertise a holiday sale, and you generate buzz ahead of time through an online campaign.

In such a case, scheduling recurring advertising should be done ahead of time, which will leave you free to organize other events around your holiday promos.

This is important because such activities may involve a lot of pencil-pushing and logistical preparation as you contact sponsors and vendors for your events.

Without a marketing calendar, organizing all these marketing efforts is almost impossible and will lead to confusion and missed opportunities.

Choose the right marketing collaboration tool

Marketing campaigns are exercises of both logistical organizing and effective communication. Your multitasking skills notwithstanding, many things can go haywire in the execution of a marketing campaign.

An open marketing calendar visible to other decision-makers and key personnel will help smooth things out with little to no intervention on your behalf.

Useful marketing collaboration tools, such as the one we provide in MarketPlan, allow for multiple people to work on a marketing calendar at once.

Instead of having to refer to a physical notebook, an email thread, or a separate calendar app, you and your team can simply refer to the same tool that you’ve been using since day one for any clarifications on the schedule or scope of work.

Get people to contribute

Your marketing calendar will only be useful if all concerned decision-makers are using it. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to change, especially if you’re using a different marketing planning software that they may have never used before.

Fortunately, some tools are actually very straightforward to use. Our all-in-one marketing platform, for example, allows you to visualize strategies, optimize campaigns, and collaborate with other people—making it highly convenient for all users!

The most important people to include are the ones who have clear contributions to the campaign. That being said, it’s also important to give access to people who are higher up in the management chain.

The list of people that you may want to give access to are the following:

Upper Management – Upper management, especially the C-Suite level executives, may want to oversee your campaign. However, this is usually rare as most executives would rather receive a report that they can check out periodically. Plus, some employees may feel pressured with the knowledge that their actions can all be seen by upper management in real-time. That being said, it’s still a good idea to include them if they’re the type that likes being in the loop.

Marketing Specialists – Your marketing specialists are the executors of the marketing plan. While they may only be responsible for their particular tasks, it’s vital to keep them in the loop to see how the whole campaign is being orchestrated.

Finance – Your finance department controls your budget, making it necessary that they see where your funds are going to.

Customer Service – Your customer service team needs to be fully informed about your marketing plans to let them know which details they can divulge, and which ones are confidential.

Creative Teams – Like your marketing specialists, your creative team needs to be on the loop to follow the decision-making process that affects their output.

Conclusion

A marketing calendar is not only useful for planning; it is highly crucial for execution as well. While even the most meticulous marketing calendar won’t make the execution phase a walk in the park, it will at least allow you to see where you’re standing on. By having one laid out properly, and by utilizing a marketing collaboration tool to supplement it, your marketing process will surely streamline your success!

If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing collaboration tool to use in your marketing campaigns, MarketPlan has got the right software for you! Our platform lets you plan, execute, project, and optimize your entire marketing strategy all from one place.

Sign up today to try MarketPlan for free!

Sign Up For Free

Get on board with The Marketing Platform of 2020 and Beyond