Why Your Small Business Needs A Marketing CalendarMarketing Calendar Audio Version
Having a marketing calendar saves you from making a common small business marketing mistake…or what I like to call…spaghetti marketing. The throw it at the wall and see if it sticks approach to small business marketing is a real killer. And here’s why.
It’s very easy to make a wrong decision based on anecdotal evidence. We tend to hang with other people who reflect our values, likes, dislikes and habits. In fact, funny enough, if you were to write out an avatar or profile for your ideal client, you would notice that they start to resemble…YOU!
The mistake happens when we decide that the people we interact with personally represent the majority. Take for example, the Director who decided that her company would stop using tele-recruitment to contact existing and potential clients because from her point of view, EVERYBODY has a cell phone now and the warm and cold calling from the phone bank to the home number was ineffective and a waste of resources.
But she didn’t take into account that a very LARGE portion of the company’s recurring customer database were older baby boomers and beyond. And while this generational segment does own cell phones, they don’t use them as primary communication. Cell phones are just for emergencies. Without data to back up the fact that over 50% of their returning customers were a result of the phone bank reminding those customers to come back for one promotion or another, she could have seriously hurt her bottom line.
Just because her children and her parents as well as all her friends and their families were cell phone users, didn’t mean the majority of her client base were cell savvy too.
Marketing Calendar to the Rescue –
In order to create the marketing calendar, a small business needs to collect and analyze some information, data, metrics…you know…the boring stuff. It’s this boring stuff that will help you determine whether your small business marketing is actually having an affect on business growth.
If your business has never collected metrics that’s okay. Start NOW with the new marketing calendar you are going to develop. And over the course of the year, you will begin to see which small business marketing ideas are working and which are not. This will save you from making anecdotal decisions that could hamstring your business.
The marketing calendar itself should encompass an entire year. That year can be fiscal or January to December. It can start TODAY and continue until one year from today. It doesn’t really matter as long as you take an entire year into account.
Why should your marketing calendar be twelve months long?
Why twelve months and not six or a quarterly calendar? Because it will force you to look at a broader picture. It’s always a good idea to step back and see the bigger view. It also lets your business cycles run through the plan. There are natural ups and downs in every business for a variety of reasons and small business marketing can have a good or bad impact on those natural cycles. [We’re going to focus on good impact, right?]
An annual marketing calendar also helps you focus on natural opportunities to piggy back on current events that much larger firms spend HUGE marketing dollars promoting which saves your budget. Think promotional opportunities like once a year sporting events [Superbowl, World Series] and school calendar stuff like back-to-school and graduation. And of course there are ALL the typical holidays to incorporate both religious and secular.
Once you begin to look at the bigger view, it will give you great marketing ideas and tie-ins to run through your annual cycle. The data you keep on each month’s promotions will help you develop a better calendar for next year. Your small business marketing ideas that were a big hit can be repeated and the misses can be moved to a better part of the cycle, tweaked or abandoned all together.
The bottom line is that without a marketing calendar and the data it produces, you are spaghetti marketing at best and shooting in the dark at worst. If you’re not marketing at all…well…that’s another post for another day. Your small business marketing requires the same effort and attention to detail that raising your children requires. You use a school calendar don’t you? It keeps your busy life organized and makes sure everything that needs doing, gets done [preferably on time]. A marketing calendar will do the same for your small business. And you will recognize opportunity sooner because you have an idea what works and what doesn’t.
A marketing calendar – as Martha Stewart would say – “It’s a good thing.”