Your Roadmap to Marketing in 2014 (Part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of a 2 part series on what you can do to make 2014 your best year to date.  We’ve divided creating an executable marketing plan into 4 manageable steps.  In this blog, we examine steps 3 and 4 – creating a marketing calendar and measuring the results.

Part 1 of this blog series talks about how to review 2013 and identify areas for growth.

Step 3: Create a Marketing Calendar

Creating a marketing calendar (editorial calendar) is critical to your success.  It is simply the act of thinking through the year and putting a plan in place.  You can make the calendar and simple or as complex as you like. Here are a few steps to get you started.

  • Start with a 12 month calendar if you need to share a calendar with staff or outside consultants, we have found online Google calendars work well for us.
  • Incorporate each of your desired offerings into the calendar.  Account for holidays, peak seasons, etc.
  • Next, incorporate community events, trade shows, and any other event that will affect your promotional dates.
  • Work backwards from each key date with high-level promotional features.  Think about press release dates, paid traditional advertising, time to develop and print promotional materials, and social media marketing.  Be sure to calendar drop-dead dates for each promotion.
  • Leave flexibility for your social media promotions.  You will want to be consistent, so set a pattern for each of your social media channels, and then accommodate the promotion into your posts when the time is right.  For example, perhaps you will post to Facebook 3 times a week, Twitter twice a day, and Google+ daily.

Click here for information on planning for email marketing that you can apply to other venues as well.

Tip:  Technology is always changing.  Use it to your benefit by looking for efficiencies.  Schedule a week’s worth of Facebook posts each Monday.  Use one of many dashboards to manage your social media.  Set Google alerts on subject matter that you can use for blogging or for your newsletters.


Step 4: Measure Results

Just because you think something is a good idea, your customers may not.  Don’t rely only on your own intuition.  Talk with your customers to see if they are struggling with anything in particular.  That can help you understand what their needs are.

Before kicking off each promotion, be sure to write down your desired outcome.  You may remember what the results are this month, but unless you write them down, are you really going to remember those results 9 months from now?
These measurable objectives hold you and your staff accountable for the end results.  This likely includes a financial aspect, but may also include increased awareness as identified by growth in social media followings and/or expansion into a new market.

  • Capture your baseline for each promotion and compare it to the end result. Depending on your goal, your baseline may be financial or a number related to number of customers or followers.  For example, if you’re running a Facebook ad or social share campaign, know the number of fans you had when you started; measure downloads of information and increased likes for your page.
  • Track your financial expenditures and income for the promotion.  This determines the actual cost of obtaining a new client.
  • Track all other related metrics (growth in customer base, number of increased leads, etc.).  When using a variety of print material, code coupons to measure what worked and the type of client the coupon generated.  A Valpak may generate a different type of client than a printed newspaper ad, but without coding the coupons and tracking the results, you don’t know the type of customer you’re attracting and the dollars that customer is willing to spend with you.
  • After each promotion, note what worked and what did not work.  This will help you tweak promotions throughout the year and into the next year

Part 1 of this blog series talks about how to review 2013 and identify areas for growth.  

The experts at the Edmiston Group can help you create your 2014 marketing program, an editorial calendar, or can work from it to help with content creation.  Wondering how to get started in identifying business objectives and overall growth in 2014? Call us today at 724-612-0755 or email Autumn at [email protected].

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group.  The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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