Yes, it’s that time of year once again. Before we know it the holidays will be over and we’ll be staring 2013 in the face. As a marketer, you’re always thinking one, two or four months ahead so perhaps your marketing calendar for the new year is complete and ready for management’s approval.  If not, here are a couple of tips to get you started.

  1. Start with a template. Don’t spend the time trying to recreate the wheel. There is no shortage of free templates online such as those provided by Microsoft Office. Here’s a free one from Brandeo that has categories for your marketing activities and it spans an entire year.
  2. I would suggest either making a note, using color coding, or creating another tab for your existing customer activities as opposed to your new prospect activities. They are two vastly different audiences who want different things from you. Your existing customers are open to product news, software updates, and user group meetings. Your prospects are still evaluating whether you or your products/services are the right choice.
  3. Next, complete the “must do’s”. For example, if you have committed to tradeshows in April, May and September, add those first. They’re unlikely to change.
  4. Add social media action items to every month. Whether it’s posting a blog once a week, updating your LinkedIn page once a month, or communicating with your Facebook and Twitter followers, consistency is a requirement.
  5. Use different methods of reaching your audience. Some people respond faster to email (like me). Others function almost exclusively via the phone. Some may read your letter or invitation so incorporate all methods into your plan at least quarterly.
  6. Lastly, fill in the blanks with ‘campaigns’ – create a relevant message to a defined audience (prospects?) using an engaging eye-catching theme.

I wish I could tell you that creating a marketing calendar is only these 6 simple steps but unfortunately that isn’t the case. However, if you start with a template, fill in the blanks, be consistent in your activities, and include multiple touches, you’re off to a great start.

If you need help creating a comprehensive marketing plan + calendar that includes all of the above, plus research on your target market, competitors, your website and much more, contact info@ThePartnerMarketingGroup.com. We can help you not only get ready to ROCK in 2013, but can help you with the execution of the plan.

By Cheryl Strege, President of The Partner Marketing Group

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