When everybody’s in charge, nobody’s in charge. This is true in so many areas of work life, including managing the care, feeding, and upkeep of your marketing calendar. Who in your company is your marketing calendar manager? If you answer “no one” or, worse, “everyone,” this post is for you. Let’s walk through some tips on who can or should be your marketing calendar manager.
First off, let’s outline the responsibilities and tasks. Companies need to start with a fairly broad team to define the scope of the marketing calendar. The executive team, or at least the person who heads up sales and marketing, business development professionals, and all marketing resources should collaborate on defining goals, strategies, methods, and tasks.
Who are your prospects? What information can you share with them that will help them do their jobs better and that shows your company’s expertise? What actions do you want them to take? From there, you can outline the best way to reach them – podcast, trade show exhibits, ebook downloads, email newsletters, blog posts.
I’ve seen too many companies stop at this point – they have the big picture elements in place, and feel like everything will just organically happen in the course of daily work life. I am here to tell you that is not true.
Very little happens without a plan, including assigning tasks and holding people responsible for the outcomes. That’s why it is important to have someone be in charge of managing the marketing calendar. Placing all projects on an actual timeline, organized by category, means that there is one version of the truth. Giving everyone access to the calendar means that everyone is on the same page. Everyone knows what events are scheduled, what podcasts are in the queue, and the topic of the next blog post. Everyone knows when the next email newsletter is going out, and can plan accordingly.
But let’s face it – getting all of these projects on the calendar does not happen by itself. Someone has to be in charge of making sure the calendar is up to date and has the best information for the team. Who should that person be? Here are some options, based on company size, for who should be your marketing calendar manager.
Solopreneurs and Startups.
It’s all you, baby. With one or two people on your team, whoever is taking on most of the marketing responsibility is obviously the one in charge. Why even create a marketing calendar if it’s just one or two people, you might ask. Managing a startup is notorious for many things, including being overwhelmed with far too much to accomplish in a day. Organization is key for making sure you hit the top activities. Yeah, you may be great at keeping everything in your head, but I don’t believe you if you say you’ve never missed out on an opportunity because it snuck up on you (or slipped your mind).
Creating a marketing calendar is a great exercise in organization. Pinning you projects to an actual calendar shows you where you have gaps and overlaps, and gives you a chance to plan ahead for busy times. A visual calendar is a powerful helper in changing your mindset from, “that award entry is due sometime this spring, I’ll get to it,” to “holy crap that award entry is due in two weeks I need to get schedule some time to get it done.”
Internal marketing teams – super small companies.
I work with plenty of companies whose defacto marketing team is the CEO and her assistant. It’s very clear that the assistant is the right person to be the marketing plan manager. She knows the CEO’s schedule and likely already manages her calendar and travel. She is responsible for coordinating the contractors and other people responsible for executing on certain tasks such as content generation. And she is the go-to person for managing all of the company’s event details, including exhibit hall contracts and booth graphics. She’s the one with a million file folders and sticky notes. When she gets everything into one calendar, not only is her life easier to manage, she can share the calendar in a visual view for the CEO. She can give a heads-up when things are going to get hairy, and nudge the CEO to authorize more resources. She is the company go-to, and is perfect for this role.
Internal marketing teams – SMBs.
Companies of this size often have at least one person with a marketing title – if it’s the marketing director, that person is your marketing calendar manager. If there is a marketing associate or admin, that person is ideal. He or she can learn the big picture of the company’s goals and plans simply by managing the marketing calendar. This is an ideal immersion into the company and can be a very rewarding role. Plus, it enables the balance of the marketing team to focus on specifics such as content creation and event planning. Win-win.
Virtual assistants for marketing calendar manager.
VAs are becoming a much more widely used resource for very good reasons. Companies can hire talented professionals for either fractional or full-time work with no overhead. And, with many companies going virtual, why limit yourself to just local options? A VA can be a perfect marketing calendar manager – executives can pass along links or opportunities to pin to the calendar. For VAs looking for ways to extend their services, offering to manage the marketing calendar is a great entry point to taking on more marketing tasks. For VAs who juggle multiple clients, managing the marketing calendar can be a way to keep your sanity. You can’t possibly keep the executives organized if you aren’t yourself.
Who manages is the marketing calendar manager for your business? What are the pros and cons of your current set up? Share your advice and I’ll be happy to spread any interesting ideas via the PlanITPDQ blog and newsletter.