Marketing calendars are used by many businesses to help keep sales pipelines full of new prospective customers. Small businesses may just keep a simple calendar with handwritten items on the dates that marketing efforts need to be completed. These items might include attending a trade show, sending out an email campaign, or placing a buy for a magazine advertisement. Larger corporations typically have a more detailed marketing calendar planned out a year in advance. Regardless of the size of the business a good marketing calendar does have to have some key elements to assure the monthly activities in which the business is investing are paying off.
Here are a few things you need to include in your marketing calendar in order to maximize your return on your marketing investment:
1. List all of the activities you plan to do by month. Activities should include efforts like direct mail, keyword search, media buying, PR, attending trade shows and networking events, and anything else you think will help bring awareness to your business and generate qualified leads.
2. Estimate how much it will cost each month to execute each activity. If you don’t have enough information about the cost of an activity, make an educated guess and make your estimate higher than you believe it will really be.
3. Estimate the number of prospects the activity will expose your brand or message to and record these in the calendar as “impressions”. For example, you may send out a press release and an industry trade publication prints it. In this scenario, the number of subscribers to the magazine would count as the number of “impressions”.
4. Estimate the results each activity will bring to your company in the form of revenue. Usually this is measured in the form of new customers with an average annual value associated with the revenue this customer represents to your business. Depending on the activity, the results of the effort may assist in retaining an already existing customer for a longer period of time. The value of this activity may be a more challenging number to represent, but still make an effort to assign revenue to the effort. For example, hosting an open house for your business may bring in both new prospects and current customers. If the activity results in one new customer who will spend $5,000 over the next 12 months and 10 current customers with a combined value to your business of $50,000, you might want to represent the activity as having a $15,000 return.
Remember, when completing a marketing calendar, you will likely include activities that you have done in the past. By doing so, you will have a results history to reference when filling in the numbers. Marketing activities that you have not done before should have results represented in the form of goals you would like to achieve for the investment you are making.
5. Summarize your totals. Each month, you should be able to see the total number of marketing activities you have going on, how many people will be exposed to your business, and what type of results you will be achieving. Reviewing and updating these totals with actual numbers will allow you to look at your marketing history and make better decisions about the types of activities you should spend more time and energy doing.
Long-term Marketing Calendars can really impact the bottom line. In the short-term, it will help hold your team accountable to completing tasks and keeping the sales and marketing efforts in motion. If done properly, a Marketing Calendar will keep you on budget and force activities to be tied into results. The Marketing Calendar is the one part of your overall marketing plan that needs constant updating. Be sure to add impromptu marketing efforts that may have not made the calendar originally. These marketing efforts need to be tracked as well, and by putting them in the calendar, you will have a record of the activity for future consideration.
Doug has served several companies as a CEO, Vice President, Director of Business Development and Sales Manager. Doug has launched three start-ups of his own, grew revenues of a large radio station group 614% in three years, and did time at a large Marketing Agency in Indianapolis prior to starting Edge Marketing.