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Filling In The Blanks…The Empty Retail Marketing Calendar

Bricks and mortar, e-commerce or a combination of the two; pricing models High – Low, Mid – Low or EDLP, it’s come that time of year again when you face the blank marketing calendar for the next fiscal year. 

Once again the marketing budget, whether it is $2 billion or $200,000 is flat or slashed and every division wants more marketing activity to make their super aggressive sales plan. Where’s my ‘plus’ over last year’s marketing is a pretty consistent question.

Here are some thoughts on making this daunting task a bit more manageable:

  1. Hopefully, you’ve gotten the Customer Value Propositions completed by your merchant business partners and the company officers have aligned on how to address each of the business segments. If not, you still have to complete the calendar and manage the budget.
  2. Use your media plan from the previous year along with results to inform the spending and channel selection but, don’t be a slave to them. New channels (such as QR Codes) are gaining ground and old channels are falling off in delivery of messaging to your customers. Not every business segment is going to run an increase every year and you have to adjust your spend accordingly to get return.
  3. Plan your major brands, large company-wide events and programs/campaigns first. This exercise is to spend the dollars where you will get return after all. Look at natural shopping periods for your product categories and those store-wide events that drive customers to shop with you. Christmas may need to be planned first and February last. Don’t forget to manage the communication to your website, email and direct teams on these major marketing events. Keeping multiple teams on the same marketing plan is what the calendar should be best at. Create a big tent environment for calendar planning that all marketing teams can participate in.
  4. Plan a media mix that makes sense by business unit. Review those CVPs for the differences in target customer. A junior’s apparel business may respond better to an email burst and mobile/social advertising during back to school as opposed to a page in a preprint. Understanding what channels your target customer is most likely to use, gets you out of the one size fits all approach of mass media.
  5. This is a good time to run the calendar by the Senior Leadership team to get buy in and alignment before moving on.
  6. After you get the buy in, fill in the minor and business specific events and keep going until the money is gone. In reality you probably want to squirrel a few dollars away for the inevitable OMG moment.

This probably seems pretty self explanatory to the experienced retail marketer. Maybe the harder part for some of you is trying to accomplish this with a tool (probably Excel) that doesn’t lend itself to the kind of collaboration across teams required of today’s omni-channel world.

Learn more about the set of tools from CrossCap that leading retailers use to ensure the retail marketing teams can easily plan, execute and analyze marketing activity.

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