Marketing Calendar 2007?
I have rarely met any marketer who doesn’t question the sanity of this process, but I have yet to meet the one marketer who is willing to change this process. Why is the approach of calendar year planning antiquated? I give you three reasons:
- The overall marketing plan should not be driven by company internal needs or processes but by the consumer needs. And the consumer would like to have marketing programs (and therefore plans) that are as time flexible as possible and not decided 15 or 18 months in advance
- Annual calendar based marketing plans does not correspond to the much more important customer centric time periods like Christmas, Back to School, or the beginning of Football season. It’s not about planning the next year but about planning the upcoming customer centric time periods.
- In today’s fast pacing consumer controlled world, there is not enough foresight to understand what kind of programs a brand needs to launch or what kind of marketing investments a company needs to spend 12 months down the road
Therefore I recommend implementing four different level of time based marketing planning dimensions:
- Consumer Season based planning (all depending on particular brand category), eg Christmas, Back to School to scope out rough plan of activities
- Monthly based planning to fine tune and agree on exact activities
- Weekly to review and adjust
- Daily to react with a small budget percentage to consumer or competitive activities.
Such a level of flexible marketing planning will require a much more nimble marketing organizations. This organization will rely heavily on systematic decision processes, data driven decision tools, and will take out some of the pure “feeling or gut” based strategic marketing decisions. But any organization has to keep in mind that this transformation into more frequent and nimble marketing planning only pays off, if the positive variance towards the old model justifies the increasing management costs of a more complex planning. My guess is that it’s worthwhile for 90% of all larger brands.