Marketing is a daily painstaking systematic work. And if you want your marketing to be effective, you need to plan it carefully. And visually, of course. The marketing calendar will help you with this, which will display a plan of marketing activities with specific goals, expected results, and a set budget. Creating it is not as difficult as it seems at first glance.
You will need to complete only 7 steps. Let’s look at each of them.
No. 1 The choice of planning tools
There are many ways to plan. Someone in the old way can use a notebook. Someone is more convenient to use the Excel program. And some will like specialized software.
It doesn’t matter which way you choose. The main thing is the created plan of marketing events. There are several free simple but no less effective ways to create and maintain a marketing calendar:
Google docs. Excel online spreadsheets that allow multiple users to work in them at once. Great for teamwork.
Evernote. An online notebook that is also great for teamwork. From the pros, you can save and structure any notes regarding your marketing plan. But all the calculations will need to be done manually.
Trello. This is another cool tool for teamwork. It allows you to pull up documents from Google docs and create cards with tasks and subtasks.
If you want to use specialized professional software, I recommend paying attention to the following applications:
Marketing Plan Premier. This is a very smart app that can even provide you with some insights regarding your marketing ideas. You can not only plan your marketing actions with it but also analyze market and competitors, optimize your price and develop advertising campaigns as well. It costs $9,99 per month.
Marketing Plan App is very suitable for working from a mobile device with a tiny screen. Here you will also need to feel in the blanks, and then the app will help you to come up with the golden mean regarding your marketing budget. The price is the same as for the previous app.
Market My Biz solution is free and it was developed by the Australian government. In general, you can get the basic set of features for marketing planning, get your document done, convert it to PDF and send it by email.
No. 2 Making a sales plan
The key objective of marketing in absolutely any company (except charitable ones) is to fulfill the sales plan and receive the planned profit. You should always remember this!
We will not dwell on the topic of sales planning, but you must know exactly what financial indicators you want to achieve in each month.
Your marketing budget and the marketing channels that you will use will depend on this. Moreover, in this case, your sales plan will be both a goal and a guideline for your marketing initiatives. And at the end of marketing campaigns, you will compare expectations with real results precisely on the basis of a sales plan.
No. 3 The choice of marketing channels
The choice of marketing channels is one of the most difficult tasks.
First, you need to know exactly the effectiveness of each channel. This will allow you to accurately predict how many sales each channel can generate.
Secondly, you will need to carefully distribute the marketing budget to get the most out of your marketing investment. When allocating a budget, always remember the 80/20 rule and invest most of it in the most effective marketing channels.
Thirdly, you can correctly plan your resource costs (time, money, etc.), and determine what you can do on your own (if you are an individual entrepreneur), what your team (marketing department) can do, and what should be given to outsourcing.
Fourth: always add new marketing channels to your plan. Test them and measure the results.
No. 4 Setting goals for each channel and distribution of the sales plan
Not all marketing channels can generate sales right away. If, for example, you make a special offer to your regular customers and promote it in the newsletter, you can safely expect that someone will immediately take advantage of your offer.
But you should not expect instant sales from a banner or billboard. The objective of this channel is to attract the attention of a potential client and draw him into the process of client generation.
It all depends on the customer’s willingness to buy.
Therefore, next to each marketing channel that you decide to use, there should be clear and measurable goals, in addition to the expected sales plan.
Each channel can have its own goals.
- For a billboard, the main indicator may be the number of calls to your office.
- The result of guest blogging should be measured in the number of clicks to your site. By the way, make sure to hire the best freelance writers from the Online Writers Rating review website to get more return from guest posting due to the high-quality content.
- An advertising announcement posted with partners has the number of new customers.
By analyzing the fulfillment of goals, you can find your problem areas in the sales and customer generation system.
No. 5 Budget Allocation
The next step is the budget allocation. Many companies approach the formation of a marketing budget randomly, allocating small amounts to 1-2 marketing channels.
This principle is fundamentally wrong.
Your pricing should initially include the marketing budget, which you will use on a monthly basis. Therefore, if you have not yet formed a marketing budget, right now determine what you will monthly reinvest in marketing.
Once the budget is formed, your next task will be to distribute it through the marketing channels. The distribution principle is very simple: select 20% of the channels that provide 80% of sales and invest in them 80% of your budget.
I recommend using the remaining 20% as follows:
15% remaining used on less effective marketing channels
5% of new marketing channels that you have not previously used
Why in that way?
Firstly, there are no marketing channels that are guaranteed to be equally effective for each company – otherwise, everyone would have been a millionaire long ago. Everything needs to be tested and verified.
If you don’t use various marketing channels and experiment regularly, you never risk knowing about those channels that could bring good profit to your company.
This means that you don’t have to reduce the budget for the most effective marketing channels!
No. 6 Appointment of responsible people
Distribution and consolidation of areas of responsibility is the next step in creating an effective plan of marketing activities. You must clearly understand who is responsible for what task Otherwise, you run the risk of being in a situation where everyone is responsible for everything, and at the same time, everyone is responsible for nothing.
If you have a marketing department, assign a responsible employee to work with each channel. Talk to him about the goals, deadlines, budget and expected sales results. Make sure your marketer understands you correctly.
If you use any outsourced services, use the same principle. You should always know who you can contact if there are any changes. Or who can you ask for the result if the marketing campaign fails?
No. 7 Performance Analysis
Analysis of the effectiveness of marketing channels is the final element in the planning system of marketing events.
You need to know how many new customers and how much sales each channel generates for you. How much does it cost you? How much each invested monetary unit brings you? What is the payback period and return on investment?
Knowing all these indicators, you can use your marketing budget as efficiently as possible.
Therefore, monthly summarize the results of using each marketing channel: measure key indicators, look at sales volume and fulfillment of goals, evaluate effectiveness.
Based on the findings, you will always know how effectively your budget is used. And you can also identify and abandon unprofitable and ineffective marketing channels.
The marketing plan is one of the key elements in the strategy of any company. Lack of planning very often leads to the fact that investment in marketing becomes ineffective and unprofitable.
What is more, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel to create it for your company – you may use this article as your personal template and step-by-step guide, and of course, do not forget about the specialized marketing planning apps we have mentioned in the beginning.