The inventor of the first practical telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Marketers certainly know this to be true. It’s impossible to have success in a marketing campaign—or in your marketing job in general—without planning ahead.
Sure, you plan out your editorial calendar, your social media schedule, and your email marketing. But have you ever thought about how many smaller needs come up throughout your day that must be addressed? All of those little distractions can really add up to derail your day.
Scheduling some of those small but important occurrences ahead of time will not only help you feel more organized, but it will minimize the distractions that prevent you from getting results. Here are 5 things you never thought to add to your marketing calendar—but you should.
1. Reorder reminders for marketing collateral & promotional products
Sometimes it feels like you’re constantly ordering marketing items for your team, but they’re out of stock again before you know it. That’s why it’s a good idea to include reorder reminders in your marketing calendar. Leave notes for yourself to periodically stock up on your team’s most-used items (promotional pens, anyone?). For instance, do you typically run out of the same pamphlets about every six months? Save yourself the scramble and mark it down in advance.
You should also schedule time to take an occasional inventory of your existing marketing materials. Every company has that area of the office that collects the random marketing supplies. Put specific dates on your calendar to sort through the marketing collateral and promotional products you already have so that you know exactly what—and when—to reorder.
2. Vacations and days off for key players
Of course you schedule your own vacations long in advance. But you should also note the dates of your key players’ vacations so that you can adjust your marketing calendar accordingly.
For example, if you know you need to get Tom’s approval on every new blog post but he’s got a vacation coming up, you’ll know at a glance that you need to have extra content ready for him to review before he leaves. Tracking time off on your marketing calendar means that you can both relax knowing that everything’s been done in advance.
One of the best ways to get everyone on the same page is through collaboration software. Use a program such as Teamwork, Trello, or Asana to keep track of what everyone should be doing--and when they should be doing it.
3. Customer milestones
Your job as a marketer is to generate new leads for the business, but it’s also to help maintain customer relationships by delighting them. So why not plan some of your delightfulness ahead of time by adding customer milestones to your marketing calendar?
Depending on how close you are with your clients, take time to add business milestones, work anniversaries, and maybe even birthdays to your marketing calendar so that you can delight customers by sending a note or a small gift. Schedule these ahead of time so that they’ll never catch you off-guard and you’ll always be prepared.
4. Software account renewal dates
When software and other accounts are close to expiring, the companies usually send plenty of emails letting us know ahead of time. Problem is, most of us are so busy that these reminder emails often get ignored. But at the same time, you can’t really afford to take time out of your day to deal with re-upping an expired software plan that you need to do your job.
Whenever you sign up for a new marketing platform that has terms such as one year, six months, etc., put the renewal dates on your marketing calendar—especially if payment is involved. Not only will this give you a chance to make sure you’re well prepared for the update, but it also gives you a chance to reevaluate whether or not you still need that particular platform. Maybe you’ll even realize you don’t actually need to renew your plan. Putting it on your calendar reminds you to revisit and reconsider that software.
5. Strategy check-in meetings
It’s easy to float along in our bubbles day after day, executing our marketing plans on autopilot. But before your approach becomes stale or outdated, schedule strategy check-ins with key stakeholders.
It may seem like a no-brainer to meet with your boss or other decision-makers, but this shouldn’t be a reporting meeting. This is an opportunity for you to get a pulse on whether the strategy you’ve planned is still relevant and still has the support and momentum it needs. Often during check-in meetings, teams uncover potential roadblocks or new directions they didn’t see before. So, while reporting meetings are valuable, be sure to get some serious strategy check-in time on the calendar before it’s too late to change direction.
Marketing changes so quickly and the job is so varied that there will surely be the occasional chaotic days. But by adding these five types of events to your marketing calendar, you can help ensure a few more smooth moments are added to the mix.