The DMA (Data & Marketing Association) defines integrated marketing as "an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer." In a simpler form, it's how a marketer puts all the pieces and parts together to create the theme and message it was the market to receive. When you think about all the different channels and tactics at a marketer's disposal today, that's an incredible challenge.
In order to keep all the different parts working together there is no better tool than the handy-dandy calendar. Using a calendar anchors you into time with your marketing efforts and will make sure you are not front loading or back loading your efforts and identifies gaps before the show up. It will also help you understand the impact of other marketing programs on big items in the calendar that you company has that are attached to specific window of time, like a trade show or customer conference. You never want to get to a point where you need to execute and have no idea what and where to execute it and a calendar helps with that organization.
The organization of marketing efforts in today's world is more complicated than ever. When you think about the big spends like advertising or sponsorship there is usually a lot of interest and coverage - they are the big rocks in the bucket. But what about all the smaller pebbles that still need to get in there in order to give you marketing maximum impact? The social posts, emails, sales touch points, surveys, articles, offers, discounts and all the other arrows that are in marketing's quiver need to be accounted for in a proactive and planful manner. By showing everything in a visual way in reference to time, you will see how all the parts work together.
So if you want to get all your marketing efforts in line, break out the old paper calendar (or a white board) and map out your marketing efforts over time to make sure there is space, clarity and consistency among them. The foresight about what you need to create will help with both planning and execution and the methodology it creates will breed success.