Now that 2014 is here you have your marketing calendar ready to go. Right?
I know it is. Full of deadlines, assignments, and best intentions, your calendar is a fantastic resource – an easily-referenced guide to your goals. As you give it some last minute tweaks, here are some things to consider:
Think about other deadlines
While your product announcements and releases are scheduled for the year, you may want to add a few days to your printing schedule. You know exactly what materials need to be designed and ordered, and we know which paper stock will make it pop and where to spot varnish to draw the eye. But add a few days to your deadline. The estimation process can take more time than expected, and then you’re left deciding if you want the lowest price or a met deadline.
Adding two or three business days for estimation gives your account team the time to find the very best pricing options. And the reality is the time frame isn’t always up to us – we’re dependent on vendors to submit pricing. Be aware when scheduling your jobs that two or three business days could get you better pricing, if you can squeeze the time in.
There’s more to life than rollouts
When planning your strategy for the year, it’s easy to get caught up in the new and exciting things coming up. But don’t forget the other events on your calendar: conferences, community events you’re sponsoring, and run-of-the-mill reorders. Adding time for marketing materials can save you time, money, and quality. If you know you’ll have a booth at this summer’s show, do more than schedule swag planning – think about updating your brochures and sales materials as effective and eye catching as possible.
Does your calendar reflect updating your sales materials? What about your training guides? There’s so much more to your business than new products, and scheduling time to improve those items can really make your brand shine in 2014.
Could your brand get more exposure?
It’s easy to get into a rut when planning for a new year: you start to run out of time and things get copy and pasted from last year. It’s so easy to mark that something will need to be reordered, maybe revamped. But what about recreated?
There are always new products to try – and they may be more effective than what you’re doing now. Switching to a poly paper may cut down costs in the long run, since they last longer. The t-shirts you’ve always ordered may have an improved relative on the market. While your account team is probably keeping you updated on new offerings, make a note to ask about exciting new products a couple times a year. That way you’re ready to stay on the edge with the latest and greatest.
Don’t forget digital.
Is your online presence prepared for the exciting things your print and marketing is doing? That needs to be scheduled, too! Think of it as a finely tuned machine – with your social presence supporting your local locations, getting more mileage out of all the swanky printed products you’re shipping out. Coordinating these projects ahead of time ensures they are properly planned, and not just after thoughts.
Read our guide on local store marketing for some tips and have your account team help point you in the right direction. You want to be sure your franchisees and local locations have access to the approved social media language, promotional emails and images ahead of time – they need to stay on brand, too.
So, 2014 is going to be…
A year of no last minute things! Right? Ha, we all know better. That calendar is digital for a reason – stone is hard to adjust. But starting with a solid and realistic plan, one that is acknowledges turn times and supports growth and improvement, can make the year a bit less hectic.