May I See Your Marketing Calendar Right Now Please?
The Marketing Calendar is a vital tool for all marketers. What does yours look like?
By Grant Halloran
CEO, Infor Orbis
If your boss walked up to you right now and said “I want to see the marketing calendar”, would you be able to immediately produce a calendar showing up-to-date information on your campaigns and promotions? Including launch dates and financial data?
Hearing this question would be enough to frighten many war-hardened marketers in some of the largest organizations.
Yet the Marketing Calendar is something that every marketer should be able to produce on the spot.
Over the years I’ve come to believe that this capability is a very strong indicator of how well managed a marketing department is, or isn’t. I recall a lunch I had in Singapore with the CMO of one of our customers. He pulled from his jacket a single sheet of paper and declared “this is my view of our global marketing calendar. I know what is launching and when in every country around the world”. But here’s the rub: he then went on to tell me that for him to get this view it took 3 weeks to produce, and 6 dedicated regional planning managers had to aggregate 70+ spread sheets. The time delay was excruciating for him, not to mention the lost productivity. “Grant, how can I get this information in real-time?” he pleaded. “By the time I get this calendar the data is out of date!”
My response was to fire up my Apple iPad, log into our Infor Orbis MRM system and show him our global marketing calendar. Right there, real-time, no personnel involved. Accurate, timely information…”gold” for executive managers who need to manage marketing with agility and speed.
A few months later we had implemented our calendar technology across 50 countries and our CMO had his accurate calendar at his fingertips, anytime and anywhere he was.
Many marketers are still using a series of spreadsheets to keep track of campaign launch dates and budget information. This truly is a massive problem for many departments, large and small. Marketing is becoming increasingly complex, with an explosion in the number of communications channels used to reach an increasingly distracted and savvy customer. Messaging is far more discreet, micro in nature, and far more frequently delivered. Staying on top of this communications mix is critical to avoiding message conflict; efficiently purchasing media; and avoiding deadline misses.
Furthermore, knowing what and when you want to launch to market enables the department to orchestrate production processes to ensure content is created on time for delivery to the communication channel. In fact, this is one of the centerpiece value propositions of marketing resource management software – the ability to automate repeatable processes and to provide bottleneck warning support to planners and marketing operations managers.
How easy is it for you to generate a single marketing calendar that covers everything going on across the entire department? Does it show what budget is assigned to each activity?
A marketing calendar should:
- Provide visibility of all marketing activities, in a single integrated view
- Automatically be updated through activities entered in the system
- Reduce back-and-forward emails
- Eliminate unnecessary meetings
- Include external agencies in the view
- Help identify potential bottlenecks
- Let any stakeholder (or new team member) see exactly what is going on in marketing
The marketing calendar is an essential tool for planning, accountability, communication, and operations. It is the key to a smooth marketing department.
So…May I see your Marketing Calendar right now please?
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Complimentary video on marketing calendars.