In today’s digital world, we often come across clients who feel their marketing strategy is in place but the execution is ‘just not happening’. More often than not, their sentiments are echoed by the various agencies working on the brand as well. In our opinion, in spite of hard work, the results are sub-optimal because there is no over-riding digital marketing calendar to hold it all in place. Well meaning people are often working tangentially with limited understanding of what other team members are striving towards.
The marketing calendar per se is an old tool, used extensively in large, established firms with huge budgets and complex marketing tasks. For marketing heads of giant multinational corporations, the marketing calendar (by whatever name it is called) is an essential part of communication strategy.
What is a marketing calendar?
The calendar is a document that puts all the various pieces of brand communication and media being used, over a specific period of time, on a single page.
How does it help?
A digital marketing calendar encourages the brand team to identify the key marketing objectives (awareness, trial, word of mouth, and such) to be accomplished within a specific time frame to meet business goals.
Once the objectives are clear, we put down the various pieces of brand communication (creatives promoting innovation and activation) and media mix to be used to communicate the same.
Different elements of the media mix (PR, Social, BTL etc) are included in the document as per pre-agreed timelines.
Experienced professionals include marketing metrics of performance as well and review the calendar on a weekly or monthly basis.
Hence the digital marketing calendar gives a complete overview of marketing initiatives and helps review performance as well.
What do I get out of it?
An overview of what is to be done, by when and preferably by whom. As the calendar facilitates timely reviews, if certain key metrics are not being met, it can also indicate when to pull the plug on a particular initiative.
Hence the marketing calendar is an effective way of linking communication to business initiatives and subsequently collating information on effectiveness of communication. It facilitates reviewing of performance and identifying potential concern areas.
Can you give me a practical example?
Imagine a mobile app that wants to achieve a certain number of downloads. A key barrier appears to be the lack of credibility in this specific space. Hence its entire marketing focus for a specific quarter is to create brand credibility (relevance and trust) via digital advertisements plus press coverage plus blogs plus social media plus search engine optimisation.
We further assume the firm is a startup with limited financial and manpower resources. Hence, the marketing approach would be to focus on a few big-ticket items to drive downloads.
Press: Focus on creating awareness of how the app is really effective and accredited to various well known agencies. Target online media, bloggers and mainline publications with the same thematic content. All press coverage to be promoted via social media and partner /affiliates
Blogs: Features detailed user testimonials on how the app helped them along with video reviews of the app by various bloggers. Push video blogging as it pays off faster.
Social: Allows credibility building user cases – focusing on specific product features in addition to other category-related material that potential users are interested in. This depends heavily on the user profiling exercise we insist clients undertake prior to creating a marketing calendar.
Website: Incorporates all elements of the press, blog and social media to ensure it remains refreshed and relevant in an SEO context .
Does it help me meet business goals?
If your business is working towards a specific objective, marketing clarity is essential. A marketing calendar ensures all inputs (time, intellectual capital and monies) are mapped out in advance and reviewed in an acceptable manner.
The marketing calendar is not a new tool. It’s a tried and tested technique to bring clarity in a situation where multiple media with different communication is present. When properly used, it helps put old-world and new-age marketing platforms on the same page, allowing for coherent review and encourages an exponential effect.