Channel Marketing Alliance Community

5 Items to Include in Your 2018 Planning

By Natalie Jackson posted Dec 05, 2017 01:51 PM


I have a confession to make. 2018 is nearly here, and I’m not even halfway through finalizing my marketing plans for the new year. Instead what I have is a desk full of notes, several calendars, and a bazillion tabs open on my browser. That, and ideas. Lots and lots of ideas.

Sound familiar? Marketing ain’t easy for us Channel Marketers. We’re strategizers and doers. We’ve got plenty of initiatives and not a lot of time. That’s why we come to sites like this, right? We need help from people who get us

Because you’re as busy as I am, I want to share a few resources and tips that have helped me prioritize and budget (both time and money) my big marketing plans for the following year. I organize myself into several different types of documents:

1) Content Calendar
This is my month by month tracker of what content is going where. It’s not all inclusive, but it does help me maintain a cadence of regular content. In the document, I track blog posts (due dates, keywords, authors, etc.), social media posts (reminders for special dates that I know I will need to create content for as well as which channel will get that content), downloads (based on my target verticals), emails (fed by my blog posts), and videos.

If you want to see what I work with, you can download a copy here: 

2) Budget (Proposed vs. Actual)
I like to have two tabs—one that covers what my finalized, approved budget for the year (this does not change), and one that shows what we actually spent money on (and how much it cost us). I prefer to break down my budget by type of spend, so trade shows go into one category, paid search/media goes into another, and so on. These categories correlate to my “big buckets” that make up my Lead Source in CRM, and the line items underneath make up my Source Campaigns.

3) Events Calendar
No secret here. This document is literally a calendar in which I put all of my events (including local luncheons or membership events, say, your local UG meeting) as well as who is going and if it is out of town. I like to post it around the office, too (hooray for accountability!).

4) Campaign Calendar
If you’re running lots of different campaigns or targeting multiple industries, this is a great item to have! Much like the content calendar, each tab on an Excel sheet correlates to a month. The month is organized by date, so you can give yourself planning deadlines and remind yourself what campaign pieces you want to have completed by what dates. We’ll talk more about this one during the webinar next week!

5) Overall Marketing Plan
Once you build it, you’ve got to sell it. I like to pull together a pitch deck for our team that covers my big initiatives for the year. This is a great way to get your company on board with your marketing plan. Just remember to keep it simple and high level. Not everyone in the company needs to know all the details. Also a good idea: be sure you can actually accomplish all the things you want to do.

Want to talk 2018 planning in detail? I’ll share some examples I like in our webinar next week (Dec. 13th at 1 p.m. CST), and I hope you’ll bring some ideas to the table as well!

Register here:

And if there's something you want to talk about next week, please let me know in the comments!