The importance of marketing in any business that wants to be successful is undeniable. Marketing is of course an around the clock activity. Marketing is an all-around activity that encompasses many activities. Marketing isn’t just selling our products though. It involves telling our story, relating to our consumers and educating our customers. A marketing calendar is a tool that is meant to help with organising all of these efforts and creating a detailed plan to always have your business prepared for the next opportunity.
The marketing calendar is an innovation that looks ahead at upcoming dates that are of importance to your business and customers and prepares plans around those dates. It also looks internally at things like sales or other events and prepares the marketing plans around those. You may be in a seasonal business that gets the most attention in the winter months. Perhaps certain health awareness days mean a lot to your customers. You might be experiencing a problem as simple as forgetting to market your products or product lines equally. To put it simply the marketing calendar keeps you on track.
By organising all your upcoming events, days and promotions give you time to prepare for things properly. No longer will you be in a rush to put together an International Women’s day post on the 8th of March or a World Aids Day post on the 1st of December. You will be able to see all this coming with adequate time to prepare for it. It’s not just about social media either. If you want to attend a monthly market or an annual show like the trade fair it goes in there too. Perhaps you sell umbrellas and don’t want to be left with stock during winter? You can plan to start a sale in the middle of summer or towards the end of it.
The marketing calendar helps you get clear about what’s happening, what your part in it is and give you a heads up to prepare for it adequately.
I gave a few examples of what goes into the marketing calendar but let’s talk specifically about the type of content that goes in there with a few more examples.
Holidays and seasons
A business is part of a community and must behave as such. Perhaps you are into gifts, days like Mother’s day, Valentines day and Christmas day will be important to you. Perhaps you supply stationery, your interest may be in school terms for the year. Another business may sell soccer jerseys and be particularly interested in the new season dates or the next international tournament.
Aside from things like your businesses’ birthday all other dates are external. The marketing calendar should include internal dates as well. So if you plan to have sales around certain events or events of your own you should include them in the marketing calendar. Any promotions you plan on having belonged in your marketing calendar. This includes press coverage and marketing of your products.
Leaning more into the business being part of a community you should also look at awareness matters in your marketing calendar. While examples I mentioned before like World Aids Day and International Women’s Day would be on the minds of many as national issues a bakery would do well to note Muffin Day (20th February in case you’re wondering). Just remember to keep it relevant to your customers as my bank telling me about pancake day isn’t the sort of thing I’m looking for.
The two examples I gave for awareness were health-related and causes come into this too. Perhaps your customers or community (yes the two are different) care about certain issues like the girl child, diabetes, cancer research and gender-based violence. Making a note of these in your calendar will give you a heads up and help you prepare for them.
There could be events such as industry indabas, trade shows, workshops, fairs or other events that you would see as good opportunities for your business. Whether it’s to interface with customers, find new leads or mingle with peers. These should find their way into your calendar too.
You can create the marketing on paper or digitally. I prefer a digital platform for reasons I will make clear shortly. Whichever way you go about it you are going to start with a blank slate. I would recommend going digital and colour coding the various type of entries in your calendar. For example, you can make holidays green, events blue, promotions red, causes yellow and awareness days purple. Make the entries for the days they cover, so a week-long event should cover the week. For each item, you may want to set a reminder to alert you beforehand. For example, something like a trade fair may need 3 months of preparation so you would set a reminder for 3 months before while promoting a product may take you 3 days to prepare for. You know how long each thing takes you to prepare for. Give yourself time to prepare graphics and literature as well.
Try out the marketing calendar to get on top of your marketing game both online and offline.