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How To Create A Marketing Calendar – Quick Reference Guide

In a previous post Establishing a Global Marketing Calendar Framework I shared several steps that need to be followed in order to layout the framework for your marketing calendar. Two follow up posts Weaving Marketing Strategy into your Marketing Calendar Framework and Applying Metrics to Strategy in a Marketing Calendar outlined the contents of the marketing calendar that will help marketing departments, and the business as a whole understand the marketing planning and the performance of your marketing initiatives.

The intention of this post is to provide a quick reference guide to a marketing strategy, or planning team that is looking at building, or enhancing their marketing calendar. For a detailed understanding on how to build a marketing calendar, download our eBook.

Following are the steps one needs to take to build the marketing calendar:

1. Design Your Calendar Framework:construction-work-carpenter-tools

To establish a calendar framework that will work for all your departments, the design needs to be sufficiently broad to support different business needs at the same time service all your marketing channels.

For example the social media marketing department’s needs for a calendar vary from those of Direct Mail. With Direct Mail, you may be able to get away with a weekly calendar view where you may have a very small number of Direct Mail drops a week. However with social media, you may have several posts a day and therefore the week view for Direct Mail would work but Social Media would require a day view calendar.

  1. Figuring out a common denominator for your marketing calendar timeline is crucial otherwise you may not receive participation from certain departments as it will not address their needs.
  2. Ensuring all your products and businesses are captured in the marketing calendar framework is essential as you want to have a single vehicle that communicates your marketing plan regardless of business or product line.
  3. Capturing the marketing plan across all your marketing channels and customer touch points is vital and therefore a framework that encapsulates all your marketing channels will support every department’s marketing plan.

marketing-board-strategy2. Define Your Strategy & Plan:

Annually the marketing department defines a marketing strategy that aligns to the business strategy and translates the marketing strategy into a plan that needs to be executed throughout the year. This plan typically changes throughout the year yet both the initial plan and the changes need to be communicated to the business to ensure the execution is aligned with the strategy.

Yearly Marketing Calendar

There are 3 major components that help define your marketing plan for the year:

  1. Sales Events/Promotions, Holidays & Conferences are the triggers for driving marketing campaigns. This is typically outlined at the top of your marketing calendar and your campaigns and advertising themes would be driven based on this cadence.
  2. Marketing Campaigns are typically the next layer in your marketing calendar outlining the promotional themes supporting a Sales Event/Promotion or Holiday. A campaign will most likely leverage several marketing channels to communicate the message to the intended customer segments.
  3. Marketing Vehicles are the initiatives you will execute in order to communicate your message to your different customer segments. These vehicles are timed initiatives with a start & end date or time typically and utilize a certain marketing channel to communicate the message. Marketing vehicles with similar themes are part of a marketing campaign supporting a sales promotion or holiday event.

numbers-money-calculating-calculation3. Overlay KPIs On Your Calendar

In order to illustrate the effectiveness of your marketing plan, the marketing department needs to overlay certain KPIs on the calendar. These KPIs are typically setup at the top of the marketing calendar to demonstrate either the goal the marketing plan is attempting to achieve or the actual value of the KPI for that time period. KPIs could be sales, market share, profits, brand awareness, etc. that are used to demonstrate the goal of what the plan is attempting to accomplish, verses what it actually achieved. These metrics allow the marketing team and the business to understand how their marketing programs are influencing sales, market share, profits or brand awareness. They provide insight in what works and what doesn’t work and allow you to tweak your plan to improve your marketing effectiveness.

To learn more about how a Marketing Calendar is setup, Request A Demo of CrossCap’s Marketing Calendar Software.

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