The One Marketing Tool You Can’t Afford to Live Without-the Marketing Calendar

Once you've downloaded the template for the marketing calendar and opened it in Excel and enter every important annual event for your business onto the calendar.

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Marketing is equal parts science and art. It’s about being nimble enough to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. And most of all, great marketing is about planning. There are many tools available to aid your planning, but hands down, no question about the very, very best marketing tool you can’t afford to live without is…a marketing calendar.

The Marketing Calendar Powerhouse

photo courtesy of danielmoyle via Flickr

I know, you’ve got one on your desk, your phone, and your computer. But are you actively using it to help you plan your marketing? More often then not — the answer is no. Without committing to planning on a marketing calendar you will inevitably think about doing a campaign for Valentine’s Day on January 31. Or a Father’s Day campaign the week before.

They say, “When you fail to plan you plan to fail.” and at least in Marketing — it’s true. As a professional marketer, I can assure you that even with unlimited resources you simply cannot fully execute a marketing campaign in less than a week. And without a calendar and a plan, that’s often what happens.

But here’s the thing, it doesn’t take very much time, energy, or thought to create a marketing calendar. In fact, if you took the next 30 minutes to jot down some ideas, you’d be way ahead of the game. (For those of you thinking, “but things always come up at the last minute, I don’t want to miss out on doing them just because they aren’t in my marketing calendar.” It’s OK, you can still do those things, we’re just talking about reducing the number of those last minute items you’re losing sleep over.) Willing to give it a try? Well, to get you started, I’m sharing my favorite template for a marketing calendar with email subscribers. (If you’re not currently a subscriber just fill out the box below – I’ll send you a copy right away.)

30-Minute Planning on a Marketing Calendar

Once you’ve downloaded the template for the marketing calendar and opened it in Excel, grab one of the many calendars you’ve got lying around and enter every important annual event for your business onto the calendar. You can even color-code the cells if you’re feeling fancy.

Now, look at how the year lays out. If you were being strategic–how much time would you dedicate to promoting each event? A few weeks for Father’s Day? A month for Valentine’s Day? Put on the calendar the promotional periods you’re considering. Now, mark your “real” calendar for 45-60 days BEFORE the START of your promotion — that’s when you either need to be talking with your marketing agency about the upcoming promotion, or beginning to do the creative legwork yourself.

I know what you’re thinking…45-60 days before? Really? Yes. Really. Here’s why:

  • If you’re working with a marketing agency, they need time to get it into their work queue, come up with a brilliant idea, get your approval, add time for a few revisions, and get it produced, buy the media, and pre-promote it. For it to be successful, you’re going to need to get approval for the offer, train your staff, and make sure your internal systems are working at their top potential.
  • If you’re not working with a marketing agency, well…YOU have to do everything above, AND your “real” job. You’re going to need the time.

So that’s it — that’s the one marketing tool you can’t afford to live without. After all, once you’ve got the next twelve months mapped out on your Marketing Calendar, you’re going to be saving money (no more last minute rush jobs), making money (taking advantage of all those “missed” opportunities), and sleeping better…all because  you have a Marketing Calendar plan. How’s that for improving your life?

Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jeremiah Ozment says

    Honestly, I have been trying to use the Google Calendar since last few months, Now I think I can say how it really works.

    I am finding it very easy to operate and use. Is Marketing Calendar better than Google Calendar? if yes, how?

  2. Carol Garfield says

    Without my calendars, and the notebook I keep them in, my marketing efforts would be hit and miss at best. I have found that being organized helps me greatly with marketing. Ideas seem to flow more freely. Action plans fall into place easily. It’s reassuring to look at the entire year’s marketing plans and know that each of them will help me continue to grow and flourish as a small business.

    Thanks for another great post, Tisha. You and Mike are great!

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      Thanks so much Carol! I agree, I always find such satisfaction in looking at an annual marketing plan, and calendaring is such a key component to it — but so often overlooked.

      Love your updates on Facebook! I really need to get over and visit your shop sometime very very soon. 🙂

  3. Glenn says

    Hi Tishia,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share the info. Sometimes its the simple ideas that are the best.

    I have been as guilty as others about not planning properly, I can remember a few instances where the planner would have been of great help.

    All the very best,

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      Thanks for reading the blog Glenn, and for taking a moment to comment! I have to admit, half the time I write blogs, it’s to remind MYSELF that I should be doing something, we all often lose strategy in the face of expediency.

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