What Is a Marketing Calendar? (Plus How to Build One)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 23 October 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Using a marketing calendar can strengthen the company's marketing efforts, potentially increasing sales. These calendars provide more lead time for large-scale projects and improve the effectiveness of campaigns. Learning about this calendar can help you create an effective one to improve the productivity of your team and meet organisational goals. In this article, we define what a marketing calendar is, describe its importance, outline the different types and explain how to build one.
What is a marketing calendar?
A marketing calendar is a schedule that includes all the activities that the marketing department is going to be working on. It can be for the upcoming month, quarter or the entire year but it's usually adjusted with the addition of new marketing plans or campaigns. It describes every marketing-relation action and details its immediate impact and the way it fits into a broader schedule. This plan also describes the list of marketing activities that require to be completed, the person in charge of each project or task and the deadlines of each activity.
A calendar also considers annual cultural or festive events. For example, it may provide details of scheduled activities around holidays and include start and end dates for social media campaigns, specific dates to publish posts and any promotional activities regarding product launches. By organising all the marketing efforts in a single place, your team can be more organised and focused, create better deliverables and achieve marketing and business goals.
Importance of marketing calendars
It's essential for marketing teams to spend time proactively planning marketing campaigns in advance and create a calendar. This ensures a cohesive marketing schedule of events that helps the company attract, convert and retain customers. Here are other points detailing the importance of this calendar:
Creates clear expectations and deadlines: The ability to plan ahead and track the progress of the marketing team on each project enables management to list their expectations and deadlines clearly. With a detailed and goal-oriented calendar, they can be more specific with their goals and deliverables.
Unifies marketing efforts: Larger organisations usually have multiple marketing campaigns happening simultaneously, with different employees handling each of them. With a single calendar detailing all the different campaigns, members of the marketing team can understand what others are doing, fostering collaboration and increasing productivity.
Defines task ownership: The company's management can refer to the calendar to know who's in charge of which project or task. This is essential to better communication and collaboration in the workplace as everyone knows the right person to approach.
Assists in keeping track of the budget: With the details of the campaign clearly listed out, it's easier for the management to look for ways to cut costs and reduce unnecessary expenditures. This enables the company to plan and manage its finances more effectively.
Highlights larger goals: Using a calendar is essential as each member can understand their role in the context of the team or organisation. They can realise how their individual tasks contribute to the organisation's larger goals, resulting in a sense of purpose and motivation in their work.
Types of marketing calendars
A company may use a variety of calendars depending on how large its marketing department is, how many marketing activities they have and how many channels they require for those activities. Here are the different types of calendars:
Content calendar: A editorial or content calendar is used to record and organise the company's content marketing plans and helps the team identify the tasks to complete and the deadlines for each activity. It also assists the stakeholders in keeping up to date with the company's marketing efforts.
Blog calendar: If the company uses blogs as part of its marketing efforts, having a blog calendar can be instrumental in creating engaging content that reaches the target audience. This calendar outlines which blog ideas are relevant to readers and enables the marketing team to adjust their blogging strategy to increase its effectiveness.
Social media calendar: Many companies use social media as their main marketing channel and this entails posting on various platforms each day. This calendar helps the marketing team to gain approval for posts ahead of the intended dates for each campaign, keep track of all the actions taken on social media, understand the response by the target audience and plan future initiatives.
Email calendar: Email marketing is a common and effective way of reaching and retaining customers and an email calendar can enable the marketing team to enhance the experience of subscribers. The calendar can highlight which content and strategies have been successful.
Marketing campaign calendar: Marketing teams can use this calendar to plan a marketing campaign to achieve a goal at any time in the year. If a company is planning to hold a campaign to reach a specific target audience, the calendar usually lists all the planned activities within that campaign, such as blog posts, roadshows and paid advertisements, and the timeline.
Integrated calendar: These calendars are crucial for integrated marketing campaigns, where the team uses various digital and traditional channels. In this calendar, there may be deadlines for print advertising, details of PR activities and plans for social media posts.
How to build a calendar for marketing
Marketing teams usually spend a lot of time and effort creating a calendar for the year, but they may re-evaluate it and revise it frequently. Here are the steps to build one:
1. Choose a suitable template or software
The first step is to decide on a software that works best for the company's needs. Consider the number of team members who are collaborating on the project as all of them require access to the calendar. You can also choose to use an editorial calendar template and add filters and metrics to remember the goals and commit to them. There are many editorial calendar tools available and they can help you reduce the time spent on creating and setting up the calendar. Look out for platforms with fully customisable fields, flexible views and automation features.
Consider options to integrate the calendar with e-mail and other productivity software so that you can set recurring events and reminders, which are helpful for regular email updates and blog posts. Ensure that each entry in the calendar is able to track the following:
name of the project
the date that the project goes live
names of team members, other employees or contractors required for the project
effectiveness of the marketing efforts
2. Review your marketing plan
Look through your marketing plan and ensure that it contains detailed information on campaigns, events and activities according to the marketing strategy. Ensure that you've identified the target audience and know the best ways to reach them. Review the type of content that you're going to create and the metrics you're going to use to track your success.
3. Input important dates and events
Review key dates and events, such as when you intend to launch a new product, collection or collaboration. It could also be a regular promotional activity, such as a week-long sales in November for top-tier customers in the loyalty programme. Include each event in the calendar and specify deadlines so that you have enough lead time to launch creative campaigns that can attract new customers and retain existing ones.
4. Choose the team members
The next step is to decide on team members to be involved in the project and assign them tasks according to their skill set and experience. Including their names and respective tasks in the calendar ensures visibility and promotes accountability. It's important to define roles and duties at this stage, especially if there are more than two people for a role. Here are the key roles to fill:
Team lead: grants approvals on each phase and plans and improves the campaign
Editorial manager: oversees the calendar and ensures that each member is performing their duties according to the plan
Content creator: collects data and transforms content ideas into written content
Content editor: improves content that content creator developed
Designer: makes the content visually attractive to the target audience
Developer: visualises and manages the content on the software
Analytics manager: tracks and analyses metrics and provides suggestions for improvement.
5. Select the event frequency
Review the quantity of marketing activities, such as social media posts, blog posts, videos or other types of content that you want to publish over the next month. Then, decide on the frequency publishing frequency that you believe is suitable for the audience and input this into the calendar. You can experiment with different frequencies and track the success and make adjustments.
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