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Timing In Marketing

How do business owners and marketers take advantage of timing?

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels

Right place, right time, right consumer in the right frame of mind; this is the key to any successful marketing strategy!

Timing is often overlooked by many organisations and businesses, especially those with small teams and more so with smaller budgets. Many business owners often fail to see the importance of marketing for specific times of the year, instead of deciding on the same they should just push their marketing efforts throughout the entire year. While this may work in some instances, it can also eventually lead to little ROI (Return on Investment) for their efforts.

Targeting specific times of the year allows businesses and marketers to appeal to an audience at a time when they are paying the most attention and in turn increasing engagement, leads and sales. How do business owners and marketers take advantage of timing?

Let us consider these three pointers:

– Awareness is critical
In order to launch your campaigns at a sensible, relevant time, you need to be paying attention to current talking points and trends, failing to do so could mean missing out on a number of huge opportunities. By tuning into major events, monitoring trending topics and keeping up to date with things your audience are likely to be paying attention to. You can become more aware of what is happening and potentially use this to give you an idea of when to launch marketing campaigns. 

– An Instant Response can be Gratifying
What is popular this week might not be popular next week! The problem with popularity is that it can often be fleeting, which is why an instant response is often needed. Once you have become aware of what is going on in the world and how you can market around this, it needs to be implemented pretty much straight away in order to not miss out on a upcoming huge opportunity. There is nothing worse than when a brand tries to take advantage of a meme or popular culture reference too late, it makes brands look outdated and behind the times, something you don’t want to do! 

– A Relevant Platform of Expression:
Being able to keep track of what is going on in the world is great, but you do need to consider how you are going to get your message out there. Social media is ideal for posting content that is relevant to specific trending topics, memes or pop culture topics as it is likely there will be plenty of others posting and sharing content about the same thing, increasing views and then engagement!  Social media and even blogs are great for events or trends that are deemed more entertaining or even fun, as it is easy for more serious topics to be misunderstood with limited characters as seen on social. You can possibly think about launching email marketing campaigns that are relevant to certain events, such as an email mid-November that talks about getting the ‘perfect Christmas gift.’ Is a god choice! This allows brands to launch a campaign centred on Christmas in a much more sales driven way. 

Social media are tools. Real time is a mindset.- David Meerman Scott

Enforcing the Value of Time

Timing is everything, especially so in the advertising and marketing industry, if you post too early, nobody cares and if you post too late you can miss out! With Google Trends, Twitter Trending Topics and even by looking through your own marketing data and history you can know exactly what works and more importantly when! 

The point is consumers are more inclined to do certain things on certain days of the week. If you can understand those habits relevant to your business, you can make sure your campaign hits when the consumer in the right frame of mind can act, and ultimately drive a better ROI (Return on Investment).

Zooming out from the days of the week, consumers have certain habits according to seasons as well! The key is to sit down and work out the optimum point in season to run your campaigns for the best results. For example, on the first day of winter, people switch from salad to soup. So in order to capture the market, soup brands need to forecast with exact precision the perfect time to promote their products! And it always pays to be first! People are loyal to soup brands; they try it, they like it, then they stick with it.

So how do you know what time’s the right time? Mostly it comes down to previous experience. Look at your historical data and zero in on the times that have worked best (and even worst) for your marketing campaigns!

It is Time to switch channels

The right time to interact with consumers depends on the channel you are using. So the timing of your social media campaign can be different from your direct mail and email marketing, and so on. So do not stick to one channel. 

Here are more multi-channel marketing tips to help you make the most of your marketing:

It is all in the planning

It goes without saying that you should send out your marketing campaign on the right day and expect amazing results. It is not that simple. Targeting, message, branding and design all have a part to play. If you can nail these elements and then send your material out at the right time, you are onto being a winner!

This is more formally known as “purchase timing behaviour,” time marketing works to create guidelines about when to introduce a product in the marketplace or how to advertise to consumers.

Do ask these following questions:

  • Is this the right time of the year to launch this product?
  • Has the market demand changed since the product was developed?
  • Is your product thoroughly tested?
  • Is your established price range high enough to be profitable?
  • How does the new product impact the life cycle of your current products?
  • Does the product advertising campaign coordinate with its launch?
  • Has research been done on competitors’ similar products and their release schedules?
  • Does your company have a stop-loss strategy if the product launch fails?

New Product Launch

The release of a new product can be analyzed similarly only on a much larger scale. As long as a business is able to track and identify their target audience and the marketplace, they can find a time to correctly market their new product offering.

For example, if a company sells sporting products, they can market them before the opening day of each season. If they sell technology products, they can release their new products before the start of the school year – one of the peak buying times for computers.

Before launching something new, a time marketing team also needs to consider where the brand’s other products are in their product lifecycles. All products have a lifecycle, and many marketing teams choose to create a new product before its old product is at the peak of its sales! It takes time and money to develop and market each product; it makes little sense to wait until the older product is no longer performing well.

The ideal lifecycle timing is to introduce a new product right when the existing product’s sales are peaking. This timing means that customers are continually waiting for new products from a brand, but never have a lull where the old product does not seem worth buying any longer.

A time marketing campaign can be led by a marketing manager with a thorough understanding of the brand, the new product, and the marketplace. He or she is responsible for the timing of the new product launch. Typically, marketing managers oversee all activities within a company’s marketing, advertising, and promotional department not just the time marketing schedule! They also establish brand guidelines and growth strategies, evaluate customer needs, and then develop creative event marketing ideas based on these goals.

Essential techniques for making your communications more customer-focused

To pull people through the buying decision, you need to understand how much time they want to give to the process. Then, ensure that you have the right tools and techniques of an appropriate duration, available when they want them.

Grabbing someone’s attention is something that is done in seconds. A person will either notice you, or they won’t. Then the moment has passed. If they then start to consider buying from you, they will gradually increase the time that they are happy to devote to finding out about your products and services.

Balancing emotion and logic in your messages, it is easy to see that emotional triggers get intuitive and instinctive responses, which means they are quick!  As the logical brain kicks in the processes become far more conscious and considered, and take more time. You will also find that the greater the risk or value of the purchase, the longer the buying process.

This is not the least because people feel they need to show that they are giving the decision proper attention. In professional buying, this is called ‘due diligence’. But, it does not only happen in business. The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that even if a person has already completely emotionally bought-in to the purchase, they will often slow themselves (or someone around them) down to show that they are not being rash.

Are you earning the right to a person’s time? 

Note: This framework builds on an original model of decision making from Dr. Philip Kotler.

Match up to their schedule

You will need to work out what amount of time your buyers want to give to this process, and then design materials or activities about that same duration. Put yourself in their position and think about how you would go through the very buying decision.

Consider the likely blocks of time they would have in their day for thinking about the same. For a non-work purchase this is more likely to be over a cup of tea, in a lunch break, on the journey to work, in the evening in front of the TV, or more so on the weekend.

So to map this for your own business, lay out the crucial stages in a typical buying decision and ask yourself:

  • How long might you have to grab their attention?
  • If they are casually interested, how long will they give it?
  • If they are starting to evaluate what you do, for how long?
  • How long might they give you to demonstrate or explain your products?
  • How long might they spend reading a detailed proposal before approving it?

To get really practical, let us consider how you might present a case study across a buying decision. 

A case study is not one item, it is a piece of content that works its hardest when split into appropriate chunks: So have you mapped your content into time-bound chunks across the concrete buying decision?

If you have worked out the likely durations your buyers spend at each stage of the process, you now need to take a look at your marketing materials to see if you can slice them up accordingly. This is much more effective than putting everything in one place and expecting your buyers to look at it all at once or sift plus refine their own way through it.

By breaking up your materials you allow your buyer to:

  • Reach the right messages at the appropriate time
  • Digest and absorb what they need to in the time they have available
  • Feel like they are accurately giving the decision due attention
  • Dip and dive into different materials over an extended period of time.

The most important thing about recognising how people spend time as they move through their decision is by way of creating compelling marketing and effective sales conversations that steadily earn the right to their precious time!

Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.- Henry Ford

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Written By

Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India. She is also an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a 1-on-1 basis.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Arun

    21st October 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks, Trishna for the insightful post. Timing matters for the success of any business. I run a small business, and your tips seem to be practical and useful. I will, for sure, come up with an effective marketing strategy with your ideas. I am looking forward to more valuable updates from your newsletters.

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