So you’ve segmented and targeted your markets and you’ve come up with the messages and communication strategy which will grab your audience’s attention and blow their socks off – but have you got your timing right? Is all of your hard work about to be missed?
I think there are two main reasons for the poor timing of marketing communication:
1. How busy we all are
Marketing is busy and when your campaign is set, it’s all too tempting to press the go button and move onto the next task before everything starts piling up. This especially rings true when you’re in a small marketing team and you wear a number of hats – the pressure is on to get things done! It’s important however to avoid the temptation to rush its release and take some time to consider your environments and what your audience might be up to – it can be the difference between a good campaign and a great campaign.
That said, Marketing can be reactive – even the most experienced marketers and best planners can’t predict the future. Sometimes events happen which we must respond to and may result in a campaign needing to be planned, designed, created and delivered in double quick time – if this happens, you know you’ve got the timing there or there about because you’ve had to react…don’t miss the boat though!
2. Naivety or lack of consideration
This is no doubt obvious to some of you, but in the past I’ve put hours into the planning and development of campaigns, and in my eagerness to let the world know about them, not considered the timing as much as I should have. The result was a less than impressive response rate! OK, so there are other factors too, but I re-ran the campaign a few weeks later (having realised the public holiday in that country) and the response rate was significantly better! Obvious when you know.
Timing can vary from the hour in a day to the month in a year. Careful consideration must be given to your audiences whereabouts and lifestyle. A simple example are the school holidays, which vary across countries and where families take a week or two off for fun in the sun (perhaps not if you’re in the UK!). Depending on what you’re communicating this can be a golden opportunity, for example if you’re promoting last minute holiday deals. If on the other hand you’re trying to sell IT Software to the office professionals, you can probably expect their phone to hit voicemail.
Think of what your audience might be doing – What are they reading? What do they listen to? What do they watch? Once you know that, consider when they will be doing it – 8 in the morning, or 6 at night? In B2B marketing it’s well known that trying to contact someone via phone during 12-2pm is pretty pointless – most people are out at lunch at some point during that time. Sending an email on the first day back after the public holidays is also pretty pointless – if you’re anything like me, you’ll scan your un-opened emails and delete the marketing mails so that you can focus on the urgent actions! That doesn’t mean that I won’t look at a marketing email when it comes in at another time…
Ultimately timing comes down to knowledge of your environments, common sense and some experience – here are a few examples of things which may bear influence on your campaign’s timing:
- Public holidays
- School holidays
- Local events and fundraisers
- News crisis
- Economic disasters
- Your budget
As they say in comedy, timing is everything. So for your next campaign, even if you consider the timing already, take a more measured approach and see if it improves your response rate. Let me know how you get on.