If you're in the northeast like we are then you might find yourself with some extra time in the colder, less busy ice cream season. That little extra time each week or month can be put to good use in many ways. One of the ways it can be utilized is in planning for the next season. Mapping out a year long plan may sound like a daunting challenge but we have the solution that gives you the ability to visually map out what you need to accomplish throughout the year without over complicating things.
The marketing calendar is an organization of your marketing platform and activities over the next year. Essentially, in its simplest form, is a calendar; filled in with proper marketing activities at specific dates throughout the year. The question of why we do a marketing calendar is simple: it's about marketing. Marketing is how you maintain business, drive new business and grow your business. However, because there are so many marketing channels and platforms to consider and actually execute, the challenge often becomes to overwhelming. The reason we put down on a calendar is to organize our thoughts and put them down now so we can make execution a reality down the road.
There are three things most important to think about when filling in your calendar.
- What You're Rolling Out? – What are the content/promotions/campaigns/flavors you are rolling out this season. Write even the simplest down. Everything matters.
- How You're Rolling It Out? – What mediums are you hitting the market with: Social media channels, digital marketing, local events, mailings, in store promotions, etc.
- When You're Rolling It Out? – What is the timeframe for all your promotions and campaigns? Make sure you piggyback the events to get the most impact along with having one feed into the other if possible.
Essentially, you're filling in the what, how and when it's going to happen. Having this mapped out for the year will help you stay organized, focused and proactive with our marketing.
How do I Set One Up? There are multiple spreadsheet tools you could use to set one of these up such as Microsoft Xcel or Google Sheets, which is free.
On the farthest left column we have our marketing platform or channels that will be utilized. These are all color coded. Along the top of the spreadsheet we put the dates. You can dived the date columns however you want, however there should be at least a minimum of 12 (1 column for each month). Now as we go along the left column and choose our marketing channel we can go right to the dates and fill in the corresponding action. It's best to be as specific as you can when entering the information so as to avoid any last minute scrambling. For instance, don't just write "new blog post" in the corresponding box, write a specific title such as "Why Our Homemade Ice Cream Is The Best".
The left color coded column should contain all the channels you deem necessary for marketing. For an ice cream shop that could include a lot of things such as: your website, your YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter...just to name a few. Also, you'll want to include items such as new flavor roll outs and promotional items you'll need throughout the year. Maybe you have fall flavors and spring flavors that you want to roll out at the proper time of year. By entering it on the calendar you'll be on top of it when the time comes...maybe even putting you ahead of schedule.
Strategically place the events on the calendar that will have the biggest bang for your buck. For example, the back to school PTA event in your community could coincide with your fall flavor roll out or Memorial Day will coincide with a new summer flavor. There's almost no limit for how involved a marketing calendar like this could get with all the different channels you could take advantage of and all the potential events throughout the year. The important thing is, no matter how simplistic or complicated, you have it on paper and you have strategic plan ready to be executed when the time comes.
As always, if you need any assistance setting up a marketing plan for the year, then give us a call. Also if you want to hear Rob Romarino speak more on the subject matter then check out his video here.