For us, having a marketing calendar for every brand we work with comes with the job, but we had many calls recently where we realized that potential clients need one. So we will give you a practical example of how we prepare marketing calendars for our clients. If you don't have one, you can follow our template and if you do, check if you really included all there is to include.
What is a Marketing Calendar?
A marketing calendar is, at the most basic level, a plan that covers your marketing activities throughout the year.
Your marketing department must invest time in proactively organizing campaigns in advance, even if it can be time-consuming and requires much thinking.
Sure, you may only know some of your planned activities one year in advance, but you should have a clear idea of some of the biggest campaigns and events suited for your brand.
"We need a marketing calendar; we get it. But why?" Glad you asked. The biggest benefits of having a marketing calendar are:
Better coordination among team members
Having a marketing calendar helps team members coordinate with one another better by making it clear which member of the team is responsible for accomplishing a specific task or project. This makes it easier to find gaps in progress and tweak schedules in case more time is necessary.
It helps your whole team stay on top of the tasks
It will help you avoid missed deadlines, see how tasks progress daily and weekly, and adjust accordingly to maintain realistic expectations. This holistic view allows for delegating tasks through the team and developing better solutions.
Saves time on tasks
Imagine how much time you could save on meetings and alignments when all the information about the campaigns is laid out and accessible to everyone. A planned structure is easier to follow and gives team members something to fall back to.
Helps your team reach the brand's marketing goals in time
A visual representation of deadlines provides another benefit: marketing team members become more motivated to accomplish tasks by a certain point because they can see their target.
Have a better understanding of the bigger picture
It will be much easier for you to coordinate every department according to the plan when you have everything before you.
Now that you know why, here is how.
So many excellent tools on the market will offer you everything and more, but a well-made Excel spreadsheet will do as well. At WeScale, we use Asana, but you can find your winner over time. Make sure that the calendar ticks off all the points below:
Is syncable: Your marketing calendar must sync automatically when making changes so that all team members using any range of devices can see the most updated view at all times.
Multiple and customizable calendar views: Every team member will likely be a part of several calendars working simultaneously to manage activities across different channels. Make sure there is an option for customized calendar views, from daily tasks to quarterly and annual events, for a better overview.
Filterable categories: Your calendar having a filter can help your team members select the specific content activities without the confusion of other categories.
Ease of use: Your marketing calendars should be user-friendly, even for those who might not be technology experts. If it's too complicated, your team won't be able to use it wholly, and it won't be as helpful for you.
Many tools allow you to combine all your marketing activities in one calendar. We recommend you make a calendar for all activities combined and then make a separate calendar depending on activity, where your team can add their subtasks and the small details. These are the types of calendars you can choose:
Social media marketing calendar: for planning your social media posts and activities
Marketing campaign calendar: for planning your paid marketing campaigns
Email marketing calendar: for planning your email marketing campaigns
Editorial/content calendar: for planning blog articles
Content marketing calendar: for planning what type of content you need and when you need it
What we mean by that is to look for all the big holidays on which you want to run a campaign. Think of your brand and its market, and ask yourself if you should plan something on
🗓️ Valentine's Day 🗓️ Mother's Day 🗓️ International Women's Day 🗓️ First Day of Winter/Spring/Summer/Autumn 🗓️ First Day of School 🗓️ Halloween 🗓️ Thanksgiving 🗓️ Christmas 🗓️ New Year
You must think about your market and its culture/traditions. If you're running a campaign in a market that doesn't celebrate Christmas, don't run the campaign. As we said, adapt your marketing calendar to your market and audience.
Once you put all the important general dates in your calendar, it's time to think about what specific dates would be best for your brand.
Let's take one of our clients, for example - a beauty company that we helped to expand from 2 to 4 markets and went from doing 70k/month to 200k/month in revenue.
Firstly, we chose the general dates for each market, and then we thought about the particular days that would be important for the brand.
We looked atthe ideal client's profile and selected the important days celebrating beauty, women, and health. You can do that by Googling the international and national days across the globe, special holidays, and dedications to these topics. These were some of the examples we chose:
January 8: Bubble Bath Day
February 13: Galentine's Day
March 22: As Young as you Feel Day
April 16: National Stress Awareness Day
June 8: Best Friend's Day
June 18: Splurge Day
July 3: Compliment Your Mirror Day
These dates are important for their community, social media posts, and paid ad campaigns. But more about that later. So what's next?
We recommend you make the steps above for the whole year, but then plan each quarter in more detail. Once you set your goals and decide on your KPIs, it's time to make a strategy.
The strategy should include all the campaigns and product launches in that quarter. For our client, we had approximately 2-3 new product launches quarterly and made sure to plan those campaigns with the client. After we decided on the theme and offers for those campaigns, we looked at what else could be done.
Why is that so important?
When we talk to clients about offers, their biggest fear is always looking "desperate," having "sales" all the time, making their products look unwanted, and cheapening their brand. We always explain that testing different offers, whether through an ad or email campaign, is essential, and we put a lot of thought into making sure it comes out as a benefit for their community.
For example, we wanted to test "Buy One, Get One 50%". Two campaigns were already lined up for the new product launches with a promotional offer. We looked at our marketing calendar with the client and decided to test this offer on "As Young As You Feel Day," and the campaign will include only anti-age products, so it fits the story.
Write a brief about the campaign and ensure it includes all the vital information the team needs to know about. After that, assign tasks, subtasks, priorities, and due dates based on the department and a team member.
This way, everybody can check the campaign's progress, and project managers can see if everything is going according to plan.
Once you do all that, your calendar should like something like this:
As time passes, you will optimize your content calendar to your needs and always have a chance to go back in time and look at your campaigns. This always comes in handy when analyzing why a campaign was so successful or where your team could do something different.
If you have never had a calendar like that, it can feel overwhelming at first, but we genuinely believe that it's an essential part, and we can't imagine having the success we had without one.
The last month of the year just began, so you have enough time to make a marketing calendar for the following year. If you have any questions or need help, don't hesitate to contact us.