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School Nutrition Marketing & Planning Calendar

When it comes to achieving marketing success, planning is key.File Manager -> 2015MarketingAndPlanningCalendar_thumb.PNG

The most successful marketers are those who have a structured strategy over a specific time line. The 2015 School Nutrition Marketing and Planning Calendar is designed to help you put your plan together.

Click the image of the calendar to the right to see a larger example of the planning calendar.

In School Nutrition there are specific things that effect how, when and why we market School Nutrition, such as; school district educational calendars, monthly holidays and events, national and local SNA events, operational issues, staffing concerns and of course costs.

And today, marketing is not just signage, banners and lucky trays...welcome to the DIGITAL AGE. Websites, video, photos, email, mobile phones, Digital Menu Boards and a myriad of social media avenues.

And the big question, how to tactically implement your plan without being late, rushed, or left feeling like you missed something.

5 Steps to a Successful School Nutrition Marketing Plan

1. Align your message with your target audience.

The better your content aligns with your target audience, the more successful it will be. You can have multiple marketing campaigns over the course of the year and they may target different audiences. Examples of target audiences are: Students, Parents, Teachers, Principals and Administrators, School Nurses, Wellness Committee and the Community at large.

2. Align content with where your target audience is and the many ways they might receive information.

Each marketing message or piece of content should contain a call to action that motivates your audience to at least take notice and at best take ACTION.

If you want to reach parents to let them know about your breakfast program, you can post it on your website or send flyers home in backpacks…but the best thing might simply be a to place big banner on the fence out in front of the school for parents to see when they are dropping their kids off in the morning.

3. Schedule your marketing to align with the time of year that will give you the biggest boost…and fit within your own busy operational schedule.

Selecting a theme for the month or quarter makes it easier to come up with content ideas. You can relate the themes to operational necessities (such as; getting meal applications in and getting money on student accounts), staffing concerns, holidays, National SNA initiatives, and of course your own big ideas such new menu or product launches, fitness fairs, or produce your very own 2-3 minute promotional video about your nutrition program .

4. Align your marketing plan with a realistic planning process timeline: Idea development and cost analysis, creative development, production, and staff training & implementation.

For example: Planning a breakfast marketing strategy to promote National Breakfast Week during the 1st week of March probably starts in December with ideas for maybe a postcard mailer, fence banners, cafeteria posters, take home brochures and a new bicycle drawing giveaway. The creative development, art and layout is completed January, printing and distribution in February, and rollout implementation during the 1st week of March.

5. Always save time and energy for the “Fun” stuff.

We have to market meal applications, getting money onto student accounts, menus, and the obligatory National School Lunch and School Breakfast weeks. BUT we get to market a student poster contest, a “My Favorite Lunch Lady” essay contest, make a video about your nutrition program, create a new signature item, or put on a community-wide health and fitness fair. These are the fun things and with it you get to involve students, staff and others in the process.