How to Successfully Schedule a Marketing Campaign without Drowning in Details
Developed from the ProThink Learning Course Effective Marketing: Methods, Models, and Processes to Ensure Success
So you’re in the process of establishing your marketing strategy, and you’ve done a lot of work to define who your audience is, how you’re going to reach them, and with what messages. Now you’re ready to put pencil to paper, create your promotions, and start pushing them out, right? No! Before you can get to this exciting part of the process, you need to take time to carefully consider when you will deliver your messages. You need a promotional calendar.
What is a Promotional Calendar?
In this stage of your marketing strategy process, you are simply outlining what will be promoted and how frequently. It’s important to remember that as you fill in your calendar you are not coming up with the actual promotional ideas.
What you are doing is timing the rotation of promotions for your company, your products, their Primary Message Themes — the main reasons most people purchase a product — their Positioning, and the Channels your messages will flow through. You want the company in general and all your products to get their appropriate amount of exposure as you cycle through them.
Your calendar is a trusted guide, and you will refer to it often. Its purpose is to assure that you are delivering a constant and maximum flow of on-point promotional messages. The length of time your calendar spans is up to you. It can be filled in for the full year, six months, a quarter, or even a month at a time.
What Should You Consider When Making Your Calendar?
Scheduling out your promotions is easier said than done. Some challenging questions will need to be answered as you begin to strategize about populating your calendar.
Imagine you are promoting your company’s most profitable lawn mower. You decide that you may want to promote it twice a month but increase the schedule to every day during the spring because the product has a seasonal spike. You may also decide to stress this lawn mower’s capabilities on hilly terrains as its top Primary Message Theme more frequently than the other less significant Primary Message Themes.
Here are a few of the questions you will need to consider when setting up your schedule:
· How much attention should company promotions get?
· How much attention should each individual product get?
· How much attention should each Primary Message Theme get?
· How much attention will Positioning get?
· How much money and manpower can be expected?
· How frequently should promotions go out, and should they be influenced by seasonal factors?
How Do You Make a Promotional Calendar?
All of these considerations can seem daunting. But by following Media Relations Agency’s strategy for promotion scheduling, you’ll be able to create an optimal calendar that suits your products’ needs. Here are the steps:
1. Rank products by profitability. The most profitable projects should appear most frequently on your calendar. Products that are not as profitable, but still generate substantial revenue, should also receive regular exposure as well as any promising new products that may need some extra attention, the rising stars. Both institutional promotions and other products can then fill in the rest of the calendar.
2. Assign each calendar entry a Primary Message Theme. Make sure you cycle through the product’s Primary Message Themes throughout your calendar to give each one appropriate attention.
3. Determine how many promotions a given market will tolerate. Although you may have the money and manpower to send out an email about a particular product every day, your market could easily get upset and opt out or ignore your messages. So determine how many communications your audience would deem reasonable.
4. Establish what Promotional Channels you will use to communicate each message. Different channels are used to communicate different kinds of messages, and different customer segments use different channels. As you’re scheduling, rely on your previous work to determine which Promotional Channels will be the best vehicle to carry each message and with which Promotional Channels your market is most likely to be engaged.
1. Repurpose your content across Promotional Channels. This is a standard marketing process and a great way to increase your exposure. One way you can organize this is by creating common groupings in which your channels with similar audiences and forms of communication receive a particular message. For instance, longer form messages can be distributed as an email and on your blog and Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles.
2. Execute on your calendar faithfully. Being reliable in your communications will help keep your brand top-of-mind for consumers. But don’t treat it as if it’s etched in stone. Unexpected events can occur, and you will also be learning from promotions as they run. As the weeks and months roll by, there are reasons to adjust your schedule. You may be adding products, or it could be that you want to react to current events as they unfold.
3. Review and analyze your promotions. By establishing metrics to regularly evaluate the impact of your promotions, you will be able to continually improve your calendar. Perhaps you overestimated in Step 3, finding that your current schedule creates more messages than your market is willing to tolerate and that you need to create more space in your calendar.
What’s the Key to a Good Promotion . . . Timing
There is an art to creating an effective calendar. With many variables to consider, you’ll need to apply a good bit of common sense and have a strong understanding of who your market is. Even though you may be itching to get to the drawing board, it’s imperative that you take the time to establish a calendar for your promotions.