Marketing is a way to make things complicated. There are so many channels and messages to follow, so much data to track and so many people to keep updated.
As a former agency employee, I have had the opportunity to see the planning and execution of many brands’ marketing campaigns.
They had the greatest success because they were the most organized. They could track every promotion, campaign, and activity from one central location. Everyone was kept informed about what was happening and when.
It is why it is important to create an integrated marketing calendar. It is the heart of marketing and can be used by many people, including those who create, execute, or analyze marketing performance.
How do you make an integrated marketing calendar that works well for your team? Here are some best practices that will help you and your team organize building marketing campaigns.
What’s an integrated marketing calendar?
Marketing calendars, Content calendars, and promo calendars can all be called different things but they are a central place where you can plan and organize your marketing activities and campaigns.
A marketing calendar gives details about the product or feature that is launched. Is it a promotion, new product, or new social media campaign? A marketing calendar provides information such as the start and end dates, details required, media files, and other details.
Plans can easily become siloed when teams of marketing professionals are comprised of people from various areas such as creative, merchandising, and brand marketing teams.
A marketing calendar that integrates all aspects of the business will bring everything together. It will include details so everyone knows exactly what is required and when.
What is a marketing calendar?
There are many ways to make a marketing calendar. These are some tools that you can use to create a marketing schedule:
- PromoPrep and similar marketing calendar platforms Planning campaigns are easy with this calendar software. These platforms are a great way to keep track of and coordinate all activities across your team. These platforms can be used collaboratively, are built in the cloud, and offer easy access. They also have visual interfaces that make it easier for your team to understand. They will also have alert mechanisms to prevent people from missing deadlines. The best tools can integrate with Google Analytics, which will help bridge the gap between performance and planning.
- Spreadsheets – This is the most commonly used tool by marketing teams if they haven’t yet made the switch to a marketing calendar platform. Spreadsheets are flexible and can be used to add as many columns or rows of data as you need. They can quickly become overwhelming depending on how complex the marketing organization is. It can be difficult to track multiple channels and share information with other teams.
- Google/Outlook Calendar – This is a good option, as these tools are calendars. However, they can be difficult to customize. You can however use colors and manage users to restrict access to certain details.
It should be simple to understand and use your marketing calendar. Everyone on your team should have the ability to access the calendar and see exactly what’s happening.
If you aren’t intuitive enough, your team will not use it. You will have to scramble to keep them up-to-date.
What should I put in a marketing schedule?
Everything related to marketing. Think about all the channels that you will use to promote your marketing. Many teams will use their marketing calendars to capture all marketing channels, such as email, paid search, and social.
You can also capture blog posts, videos, events, and website updates. This will allow your team to strategize, execute, and keep them informed.
You can look back at past promotions and campaigns to help you plan for next year.
Many marketing software platforms allow you to quickly overlay the activities from last year onto your calendar. This makes it easier to plan. If you use spreadsheets, this information can be pulled from your existing spreadsheets. As long as you have copies of your campaigns for reference.
I need ideas to add activities to my marketing calendar.
There are many places where you can find inspiration. These are some places to look for inspiration:
- Facebook Ad Library – Facebook has created a searchable database that allows you to find every ad currently being run by any brand. Any paid ads currently running on Facebook and Instagram can be viewed. This is a great way for you to not only see your competition but also gain inspiration from companies in other industries.
- Mail charts – You can use their curated email collection to get inspiration or search for specific brands to see what they are doing. This is a great tool for brainstorming ideas for your email content.
- Moat – You can view the display ads of other brands and see their past campaigns across various platforms.
- Ad. video. A collection of some of the most popular youtube video ads. There’s a slight bias toward DTC brands.
- Answer the Public – type in a keyword to get a lot of information about this topic. This is a great way to generate content calendar ideas.
It is a great way to keep your team sane, organize your marketing activities, and promote your campaigns in a central calendar.