Planning season is one of the most exciting times of year for marketing professionals. It is a time to reflect on the successes and losses of the past year and develop a game plan for how you will grow and reach your goals over the next year. One of the most important aspects of planning is developing your annual marketing calendar, which will serve as a timeline to guide you to reaching your goals for the year.
WHAT IS A MARKETING CALENDAR AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
When implementing your annual marketing strategy, you’re often working on projects so far ahead of their launch and have multiple items running at the same time. Because of this, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. A shared marketing calendar will help you and your team stay organized as well as keep projects and initiatives on track as it will allow you to see when ad campaigns are running, social posts are going live and emails are being sent all in one place.
Professional pest control services and needs are seasonal based on the location of your business. An annual calendar can also help you keep your marketing efforts aligned with the seasonality of your customer’s needs. It is important to regularly connect with your technicians on which pests will be the biggest issue in your region and utilize their knowledge to inform your marketing calendar.
IDENTIFYING KEY DATES AND TIMING
At the start of each year, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) develops an editorial calendar to help keep the media informed on the topics they’ll be discussing throughout the year. This calendar also helps inform timely website and social media content that will be developed, and can include timing for PPMA’s annual awareness observations as well as their Vector Sectors™ and Bug Barometer® reports.
- Termite Awareness Week: March 5-11, 2023
- National Pest Management Month: April 2023
- Tick Awareness Week: May 7-13, 2023
- Bed Bug Awareness Week: June 4-10, 2023
- World Pest Day: June 6, 2023
- Rodent Awareness Week: October 15-21, 2023
- Vector Sectors™: Released annually in February and August
- Bug Barometer®: Released annually in March and September
PPMA’s awareness observations are a great opportunity for members of the pest control industry to get involved in their efforts—be sure to add the dates above to your 2023 calendars! The group also makes their full editorial calendar and supplemental marketing materials available to its investors through the digital marketing hub, PPMAMainframe.org, to help companies inform their own marketing programs.
Aside from participating in PPMA’s awareness initiatives, you will have some plans for your own marketing efforts. When developing your marketing calendar, mark down the dates or months you would like to launch your campaigns or roll-out your initiatives to customers. Then, work with your team to create a timeline to determine how long it will take to develop content. Add these timeline dates to your calendar and check off tasks as they’re completed to ensure your team is staying on track.
Don’t forget to include dates that are important to your business and the public. Offering a discount on services in honor of your company’s 10-year anniversary? Add those key dates and timing to your calendar! It’s also important to be cognizant of holidays throughout the year as well and ensure your marketing efforts are sensitive to any religious celebrations.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TIMELINE—THINGS WILL CHANGE!
It is important to keep in mind that the environment you’re marketing in is always changing and issues that affect the pest control industry and your marketing plan may come up, so it is important to be flexible. Dramatic changes in weather can significantly impact pest populations in your region and you may need to pivot your efforts. Invasive pests can also throw a wrench in your plan. For example, in recent years, states in the Northeast U.S. have been impacted by the spotted lanternfly populations. This invasive pest has become top of mind for residents of these states and many pest control businesses in this area have received calls about them.
Flexibility is extremely important when it comes to scheduling social media content and advertising campaigns. There is often a lot of discourse on social media about issues happening in the world and it’s necessary to regularly monitor conversations and trending topics. Be sure to pause posting or adjust your content strategy if something sensitive occurs.
A marketing calendar is not a new concept, but it is a tried-and-true practice that can keep your team’s marketing efforts aligned. Your marketing calendar should be a clear outline of your plans for the year and include a detailed timeline of how you’re going to achieve them. While it’s important to be flexible and adjust as needed, a calendar helps keep your whole business aligned on the pace and expectations of your marketing efforts.