Many marketing strategy and planning departments utilize calendars to present their marketing cadence from describing what promotions and campaigns to what media tactics will be used to communicate the promotional and marketing initiatives. Through my experience with different marketing departments in large and medium-sized corporations, I have commonly come across Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Google Calendar, and also Adobe InDesign as the tools used to outline the marketing plan in a calendar format. As you can imagine, it is a tedious daily endeavor to maintain changes based on input from several different stakeholders at the same time as soon as you communicate the plan to all stakeholders, there seem to be more changes. And this never stops…..
I decided to write this post because at some point marketing planners get exhausted with managing and constantly communicating the plan in Microsoft or Adobe tools. This post highlights the different signs indicating it is time to move on from these traditional tools to a dynamic marketing calendar software platform that will help manage the information and communication of your marketing plan.
Seven Signs You Need Marketing Calendar Software
1. Marketing Calendar – Version Management:
One of the most common issues marketing strategy and planning teams face is constantly emailing out new versions of the marketing calendar and the management of change associated with the versions. They try to address this issue with placing the marketing calendar on a shared drive or in a document management system. Sharing files only helps to a certain degree and becomes challenging when the team grows to several different stakeholders managing different parts of the marketing calendar. At the same time, sharing externally requires the deployment of the marketing plan in an externally accessible document management system. Marketing Calendar software addresses all these issues because it is a real-time marketing calendar and provisions different stakeholders with access to the different sections of the marketing calendar eliminating issues with versioning and access.
2. Consolidating multiple Marketing Calendars:
Sometimes marketing departments with multiple divisions tend to develop and maintain their own marketing calendars requiring a marketing planner to consolidate all the information into a single calendar view that reflects on the marketing strategy and initiatives across the business. The planner has to decipher all the formats and organize the content into a final presentable marketing plan to senior executives and the rest of the marketing team. This process could lead to issues with the information presented being outdated as the different marketing divisions tweak their marketing plans. Marketing Calendar Software provides a solution to this problem: include the different marketing departments in entering and managing their marketing plans but set up restrictions where and who can manage those activities. This way, you will always have a current plan and a true marketing system of record.
3. Multi-dimensional Marketing Plan:
Marketing plans become highly complex once you have several different product lines or brands. Developing a consolidated marketing plan is challenging as there are several stakeholders each planning and executing their own activities. These stakeholders can also be geographically dispersed complicating the whole aspect around incorporating their marketing plan and the changes associated. Through using marketing calendar software, each brand or product’s marketing planner would enter their marketing initiatives into the calendar, and the marketing calendar software automatically consolidates the information into a holistic plan.
4. Multi-region Marketing Plan:
Global corporations typically set up marketing operations in different countries to cater their marketing efforts regionally. With different teams geographically managing their regional marketing plan, it is always challenging to manage and align marketing activities at the same time identify and communicate certain isolated regional marketing efforts to a specific region. Marketing calendar software allows a structure for the marketing calendar that accommodates regional variances in marketing plans and access to regions can be segmented based on the business needs.
5. Marketing Calendar Presentations:
Presenting marketing calendars to senior management becomes quite resource intensive that the marketing planning team tends to hire a dedicated resource to consolidate and maintain the marketing calendar. This resource is also leveraged to create presentations of the marketing calendar in different formats based on the executive’s preference. This work effort is avoided with marketing calendar software as the plan is entered by all participating stakeholders and can be presented in different views or exported to incorporate within different presentations.
6. Managing & Tracking Changes:
Marketing plans are never static and constantly require updates based on conditions within the marketplace. In an environment with multiple stakeholders managing their marketing plans, changes are constantly occurring. As several changes occur to the marketing calendar, it becomes very challenging to determine who requested the change and the reason for the change. Marketing Calendar software tracks changes and keeps a record of who made the change simplifying the tracking process.
7. Controlled Access:
One of the most common needs is to have an all encapsulating marketing plan but being able to only share certain sections of the marketing calendar with different stakeholders. As the plan is being altered, the marketing planning team may only want to share finalized marketing activities. Also, certain team members should only have visibility to a limited section of the marketing calendar. This is extremely complicated as it would require cropping sections of the marketing calendar for the different team members. Access is controlled in marketing calendar software allowing marketing planning teams to limit visibility to the different stakeholders and thus simplifying the sharing of the marketing plan.
For more details on what features a marketing calendar software tool should provide, please review my post on comprehensive marketing calendar checklist or download the comprehensive marketing calendar checklist whitepaper.