Want to get more out of your marketing program in 1997? Nancy Michaels, owner of marketing consulting firm Impression Impact in Concord, Massachusetts, suggests developing a marketing calendar at the beginning of every year. Now's the time to get down to business, so here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you plan for 1997:


*Plan and budget for a specified agenda of marketing efforts, but be flexible. Michaels recommends setting aside 3 percent to 4 percent of your marketing budget for unexpected marketing opportunities.


*Determine when certain promotions need to be executed, and work backward when planning them. To make your summer sale come off without a hitch, for example, you may need to start working on it in March.


*If you're planning a holiday-based marketing promotion, make sure the holiday you choose directly applies to your business. For instance, a children's clothing store might want to do something for Halloween; a men's clothing store, on the other hand, probably wouldn't.

However you decide to spend your marketing dollars, it's important to think ahead.