“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill
Implementing a marketing strategy without knowing if it is working is a common mistake many businesses make. Too often budgets are spent on good ideas and judgment calls, but hunches and guestimates don’t always deliver the best results.
In a nutshell, for today’s businesses to be successful at marketing, they need to have
- informative research around a defined target market
- a value proposition that differentiates the business from the competition
- marketing tactics that are effective to increase revenue
However, just like humans, no business is perfect. As business environments change, organizations need to always be evolving. To do this, they need to make changes based on analysis showing where there are areas for improvement. I have a motto I live by that I share with all my clients…
“It’s not a mistake if you learn from it!”
That’s where the marketing calendar comes in. Some see the marketing calendar as an instruction manual that a business executes. That is true, but it can and should be more than one dimensional.
There are three basic functions for a successful marketing calendar
Layout tactics within segmented campaigns
Track planned activities and budgets versus what actually happens
Analyze measurements of success (e.g. profits, new clients, etc.)
Ten tips when developing a marketing calendar
1. One consolidated view. Elements of a successful calendar are a complete view of the year, tactics, ownership, budgets and actual activities, costs and results versus the original plan.
2. Stumble through your first. The original calendar is the hardest to create, as there is no barometer to base projections on, but they get easier year after year.
3. The well might go dry. If a business sticks with the same approach, it will eventually move out of favor, so be prepared to adapt and succeed.
4. Trial and error. Sophisticated marketing is simply a matter of testing one approach versus another and then shifting resources to the approach that gives a better return on investment. The more you test, the more knowledge you gain.
5. Time and money are limited. It is all about resource optimization to drive the best results.
6. Shared costs. It is not just about direct out-of-pocket costs. Look to create partnerships with other organizations to save or share marketing expenses.
7. Intangibles. Sometimes marketing delivers positive outcomes that are hard to see (e.g. brand awareness).
8. Accountability. Assign owners to each task and frequently share the high-level results with the team to keep them informed and motivated.
9. ROI. Smaller businesses really need to act like Fortune 500 companies, continually tracking and analyzing their marketing efforts like the bigger fish in the pond.
10. A historic record. Keeping a copy of annual calendars helps gauge activities and results over the long term.
Byrnes Consulting has developed a proprietary marketing calendar template that can help your organization plan, execute, measure and succeed. Contact us for a consulting engagement.