In the simplest of terms, a marketing calendar sets out the timeline for taking the action that will lead to achieving the results you want.
A well-defined marketing calendar will serve as a valuable tool to help you stay organized and consistent. It is a living document that you should revise and update as there are changes throughout the year.
Given the range of tasks necessary to generate new business, marketing frequently seems to be daunting, insurmountable challenge. I know the feeling and occasionally share the pain. Fortunately, whenever I start to feel overwhelmed but what must be done, my marketing calendar helps me refocus and move forward.
I developed my marketing calendar as part of my overall marketing planning. At the time, It seemed to be a an essential element of my implementation strategies.
The following blog post by Elizabeth Kiken articulated some of the unspoken considerations that led to the development of my marketing calendar. For purposes of brevity, I have abridged the post, but I highly recommend reading the full article.
What message is going to your audience?
Your marketing calendar often includes topics or headlines of content, products being pushed out, and any new messaging or message testing. These aspects of your calendar are often not organized anywhere else except in the marketing calendar and this information is very important to keep track of. Knowing what message will be in the marketplace when and through what marketing channel will help keep your campaign cohesive and controlled.
Your calendar also allows your firm to plan according to seasonality. You understand your audience and when, during the year, a particular message may resonate better than others. Listing holidays on your calendar provides a visual opportunity for when you should structure any holiday promotions or messaging.
Set Deadlines and Expectations
One of the best parts about having a marketing calendar is being able to see what’s coming up next week or next month. If kept up-to-date, there should be no surprises for when blog posts are due or what day an email is going out. Keeping track of these dates is important to make sure you don’t have too many overlapping deadlines. Spacing out marketing efforts often means deadlines will be spaced out too and your team can plan in advance when new ads or travel to speaking engagements are happening.
Your marketing calendar doesn’t have to be elaborate but you should definitely have one. Taking the time upfront to create it early on will save you money and frustration later once you’re in the heart of implementing your marketing efforts.