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Using Our Free 2018 Marketing Calendar

Prime Design Solutions is pleased to provide you with a free, customizable marketing calendar to help small businesses plan your upcoming marketing year more effectively.

Download the 2018 calendar

What are the benefits of a marketing calendar?

  • Scheduling benefits – Having a calendar helps you plan proactively, rather than scramble at the last minute to get a marketing initiative completed. What’s more, it helps you anticipate where assistance might be needed and schedule outside help accordingly.
  • Better records – You may think you’ll remember all your marketing initiatives over a year, but often you don’t – or at least, not in detail. Planning your 2019 marketing will be a lot easier when you have a concrete record of what you did in 2018, and when it was completed.
  • Planning specific areas of marketing — It’s much easier to comprehensively plan and execute all areas of your marketing — print ads, broadcast ads, social media, specific seasonal promotions, content marketing, digital strategy and more — if you have a calendar.
  • Improved communication. If everybody knows and can see what marketing initiatives are underway, your marketing will be more successful. Plus, management will be more aware of the required marketing tasks and can allocate employee time and assignments accordingly.

What to consider as you begin your calendar

  • Budget. What did you spend in 2017? Is there a major new initiative you want to complete (such as a rebrand, a new website etc.)? What budget is allocated for 2018, and should this be adjusted?
  • New ideas. Take a look through our list of marketing channels. Is there a new idea that makes sense for your business?
  • Timeline. For any prolonged campaign (such as a seasonal promotion) or special initiative such as a new website or rebrand, you’re going to want to create a timeline. Start from the time it should be complete, and work backwards. Do you need an outside consultant, and if so, do you know who that company/individual is? If not, build in time for research — if so, you might want to let that company/individual know, so they can put you on their calendar.

How to use the calendar

  • Look at previous years. Consult any and all records of marketing from 2017 and previous years to inform your planning.
  • Consult your marketing plan for the upcoming year. If you don’t have one, consider creating one using our earlier podcast: 5 steps to a simple marketing plan.
  • Have a marketing meeting with involved staff. Critique last year’s marketing efforts together, and brainstorm new ideas.
  • Fill in important dates such as seasonal promotions, deadlines, and other yearly events specific to your business. Work backwards to fill in marketing initiatives to support these promotions and events.
  • Don’t fill in too many details. At this point, you want a broad outline, not a detailed list of tasks, as plans can change frequently.
  • Add details each month. As initiatives get closer, fill in details, including ad deadlines, who’s responsible for what, and so on.
  • Track goals. Try to take the time to write some notes after an initiative is over, indicating what was effective and what wasn’t. These records will be invaluable when you make your marketing calendar for 2019.
  • Observe trends. With time, you’ll begin to see patterns in your marketing, and where the busiest times are. This helps you plan in both the short- and long-term.
  • Balance your media. Are you using all the channels available to you? Make sure you promote to your customers via email or social media before the ad campaign runs.
  • Schedule marketing meetings. Brief meetings (monthly, quarterly, or at whatever interval makes sense to you) are helpful in keeping your marketing running effectively, and allow you the opportunity to record important notes about completed initiatives.
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