Is It “Time” for Marketing Success?

One of the most critical and over looked elements to marketing success is… timing. Most practioners, even seasoned veterans, overlook this key factor when conducting campaigns, writing briefs or completing the business and marketing plan. They explain that the target audience, offers/messaging, creative and competitive factors play a role in the results, but never seem to touch on timing.

Most products or services have a seasonal factor. For instance, most people in the Midwest would not consider buying lawn mowers in December, and thus very few firms market them then. Snow shovels typically sell briskly after the first winter’s storm.

I recall a program I did in 2001 that illustrates the point. The company called me in in the 4th quarter of 2000 to do some direct mail testing for “final expense” insurance, or burial policies. I was to test against another direct mail package. The mail date was September and the 100,000 pieces were co-branded with Chase and the test was to take place in Manhattan.

Do you recall 9/11/01? It was the day America was attacked.

The client called and asked what to do. I explained they should scrap the program and save the postage. They mailed anyway, two weeks later than planned. The results: 3 responses, two angry letters and an empty reply envelope. Although the campaign had been in development for some time, the timing of the mail drop date was horrible. Most folks assumed that the company was taking advantage of them… at a time when their fear was heightened.

So please, keep in mind timing when planning your marketing. Be willing to adjust time frames up, back or even scarp the campaign if need be. You’ll be very happy you did. The results will prove it.

Grant A. Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


1 Comment

  1. (I inadvertently placed this comment on the wrong post. So here it is again).

    Interesting story Grant.

    I was making a pitch for my services to one of the largest hospitals in the southwest on the 25th floor of a large building on 9/11. Mid way through the presentation, TVs started blaring all over the hospital with the news. The prospect and I stopped what we were doing to watch the plane strikes.

    I never finished that presentation and never sold the business.

    Your client would have done well to stop the project as you recommended. They would have saved the postage and avoided the ill will that resulted from the direct mail drop.


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