Marketing is a very complex field. There are many channels, messages, data, target markets, and people to reach.
As a marketing professional, I have had the opportunity to see how many brands plan their campaigns.
The most organized people were those who had the most tremendous success. The central place was used to track all details of each campaign, promotion, and activity. Everyone was kept up-to-date with what and when.
It is for this reason that an integrated marketing schedule is essential. It is the hub of the marketing department, and many different people use it.
How can you make an integrated marketing plan that works effectively for your team? I’ve listed the best practices for your team to plan and stay on track when building marketing campaigns.
What is an integrated Marketing Calendar?
They can be called marketing calendars, calendars, or promo calendars. But in the end, they’re simply a central place where you can plan and organize your marketing campaigns.
A marketing calendar gives details on what’s being launched. Is it a product, feature, or sale? Or a social media campaign or new promotion? The marketing calendar provides other details such as the start and finish dates, information needed, media files, etc.
When marketing teams consist of people from various areas, such as creative, merchandising and brand marketing, performance marketing, executives, and external agencies, it is easy for plans to become siloed.
A marketing calendar that is integrated brings all the pieces together. If done correctly, it will include details so everyone knows exactly what to do and when.
How does a marketing schedule look?
There are many ways to create an effective marketing calendar. Here are some tools you can use to create a calendar for marketing:
- PromoPrep and similar marketing calendar platforms: Software designed specifically for planning campaigns takes out the guesswork. These platforms are a great way to track everything across your entire team. These platforms are built on the cloud, have a visually appealing interface, and are easy to access. They also encourage collaboration. They will also have alert systems to prevent people from missing deadlines. The best tools will be integrated with other platforms, like Google Analytics, to help close that gap between performance and planning.
- Spreadsheets are the most popular tool for marketing teams who still need to switch to a platform that allows them to create marketing calendars. The spreadsheets are very flexible and can be customized to include as many columns and rows of data as needed. They can become overwhelming depending on how complex the marketing organization is. Tracking across multiple channels and sharing with other teams can be difficult.
- Google/Outlook Calendar – Not wrong because they are calendars, but they can be challenging to customize. You can still use colors to restrict access to specific details.
Your marketing calendar must be simple to understand and use. Your team members should be able to jump right into the calendar to see what is going on.
It must be intuitive, or your team will not use it, and you’ll have to scramble to keep everyone updated.
What should I include in my marketing calendar?
Everything relating to your marketing. Think about your marketing channels at a high level. Many teams use their marketing calendars to capture all marketing channels, such as email, paid search and social media, affiliate marketing, etc.
Don’t stop at blog posts. Capture video posts, updates to your website, and any other information that will help you strategize.
Keep track of previous campaigns and promotions if your business is seasonal. You can use this information to plan for the upcoming year.
Software platforms that offer marketing calendars can quickly overlay previous year’s campaigns onto the current year’s calendar. This makes planning easier. If you use spreadsheets, this information can be pulled from old spreadsheets. Just make sure you have copies of the old campaigns.
What are some ideas to add to my marketing plan?
You can find inspiration in many places. Here are some places where you can find inspiration.
- Facebook Ad Library: Facebook has created a database that allows you to search for any ad currently running by any brand. You can view any ads running on Facebook and Instagram. It’s an excellent way to see what your competitors do and gain inspiration from companies in different industries.
- Mailcharts: You can use the curated collection to get inspiration or search brands to see what campaigns they’re running. This is an excellent tool for generating ideas for emails.
- Moat – If you display ads, it is possible to see what other brands are running or have previously done across various display platforms.
- Ad.video is an excellent collection of some of the best videos on youtube. There’s definitely a focus on DTC brands.
- Answer the Public: Enter a keyword to get a list of topics that surround this topic. This is an excellent tool for coming up with ideas for content calendars.