A few weeks ago, I shared a simple marketing calendar spreadsheet. Since I published that post, I have been thinking a lot more about planning, and realized a good calendar will help you manage many areas of your business besides marketing.
Building a calendar forces you to look at schedules and timelines. If you know you are going to be participating in a home show in September, you can work backwards to determine when you need to start designing the booth, handouts and the critical follow-up elements. There is nothing worse than coming home from some type of tradeshow, home show or networking event and wondering what you are going to do with all the leads.
Outline the critical steps. Once you put something on your calendar, the next step is documenting the critical steps and making a list of resources you’ll need. Also, a marketing calendar can help you recognize early on if you’re in danger of not meeting your schedule or your goals.
Using the calendar to break tasks into small steps. This plan ahead mentality allows you work on the things which need to get done without completely disrupting your day-to day-business operations. When you plan ahead, you have time to identify the sections of your marketing which need to be outsourced. You will also save money in the long run because you will have time to shop around for affordable suppliers and avoid paying rush charges at the last minute.
Integrate with the Rest of Your Business
If marketing is the grease that starts the wheels of your business turning, then it only makes sense that successful marketing campaigns include some thoughts about how the increase in sales or sales activities will impact our business such as staffing and purchasing cycles.
If you are going to run a big promotion, be sure to make notes in your calendar to remind yourself to confirm supply orders with your vendors and modify your staffing schedules prior to the launch. Making these activities part of the marketing process will ensure you have enough inventories or enough people to satisfy the requests of the customers who respond to an advertisement or social media campaign.
The bottom line? Good marketing takes time and planning on the front end to deliver results on the back end. If you are looking for a tool to start your budget planning cycle, download our free marketing calendar today.