It’s that time of year—time to dust off the 2021 marketing calendar and give it a facelift for 2022. Have you ever noticed that marketing calendars seem to get bigger and more complex, rarely the opposite? If you feel like your list of marketing tactics to complete in 2022 has become unwieldy, we hope this checklist can help. Use it to evaluate every tactic in the calendar and see if there are some weaker tactics you can remove. Doing so will free up your time and creativity to focus on the strong tactics that will help your organization achieve its sales or engagement goals.
I’ll use the term sales goal below, but there are likely some sections of your marketing calendar that aren’t concerned with sales. You may be seeking to boost employee engagement, generate goodwill from a community, or increase referrals from a network. Since these audience groups still move through a funnel from awareness to consideration, to decision, and retention, the recommendations in the checklist will still apply.
❒ This tactic has a valuable, well-defined audience
Your target audience information or persona should guide the media selection, messaging, and creative related to every tactic. Sometimes legacy tactics are carried over each year for sentimental reasons, not because they’re targeting an audience that’s relevant to the company today. Find a different way to honour the past and remove that legacy tactic from the modern marketing calendar.
❒ This tactic moves customers through the sales funnel
Every marketing tactic should help move a prospect from one junction of the sales funnel to the next. Pay close attention to any sponsorships on the calendar—they often need an activation (such as a contest, media release, digital campaign, or side event) before they can directly support your sales funnel.
❒ This tactic has a realistic budget assigned to it
Assign a budget to every tactic on the marketing calendar. A good rule of thumb is to plan for half of that tactic’s budget to go toward asset creation and half to go to promotion or distribution. Be careful not to spread your marketing budget too thin—it’s better to do a few tactics exceptionally well than a lot of tactics poorly. A few well-executed tactics will likely generate better results, creating the organizational buy-in needed to invest more in marketing.
❒ This tactic has the necessary buy-in to get done
If you’re thinking of running some new, unconventional, edgy, or out-there campaigns in the coming year, get buy-in now. Build a strong concept and rationale for the tactic and ground it in examples of how other organizations have had success with similar campaigns. Bring your proposal to the necessary stakeholders to get everyone on board.
❒ This tactic is inclusive and accessible
We’ve been writing on the role marketers play in bringing greater inclusivity and accessibility to advertising, media, and communications. It’s much easier to incorporate these best practices at the beginning of a project than attempting to retrofit it at the end. If you feel unsure on where to start, focus on doing a few things well—such as ensuring all videos have proper subtitles or selecting accessible venues for events.
❒ This tactic shows our brand values in action
Make sure to brag about your organization once in a while. We find a lot of multi-generational, privately held, family-owned businesses make huge contributions to their communities and never tell their audiences about it. They give because they can, not because they expect anything in return. But think of it this way: there might be a customer out there who wants to work with an organization as philanthropic as yours, but if you never clue them in, they’re missing out.
We hope this checklist helps you tighten up or refocus your marketing calendar for the coming year. And if you’d ever like a second set of eyes on your plan, we’re always here to help.