We’ve all heard the phrase timing is everything. In marketing, it really is. Timing can make or break your strategic marketing campaign. After all, you wouldn’t market Christmas decorations in May. There are a few key things that play into the timing of your strategic marketing campaign: seasonality (of course), psychology, responsiveness and your business cycle.
If you’re Catholic, you know that yesterday kicked off Lent. Given that you cannot eat meat on Fridays during Lent, seafood companies start to slowly ramp up their advertising in the weeks leading up to Lent. How many times have you seen that catchy (or annoying, depending on your point of view) McDonald’s commercial for filet o’ fish? Have you noticed more Long Johns Silver and Popeye’s commercials pushing shrimp and fish lately? Enter strategic marketing for Lent.
There is a certain psychology that plays a huge role in timing for strategic marketing initiatives. Knowing what your consumer is thinking during certain times in the year can help decide what type of marketing campaign you want to launch. What happens around New Year’s every year? People get onto a health and exercise craze…for all of about 1 month. Nonetheless, gym commercials, dieting programs, healthy recipes and discounts for exercise systems being popping up everywhere starting January 1st every year.
The other, more negative, side of this is shaming people into starting that resolution like the New York Sports Clubs. With ads calling to attention the stress and weight gain associated with the holidays, they offered special holiday rates for new members. Admit it, you’ve thought it and marketers have used it to get your business. Brilliantly sneaky and well timed.
What about those ads for tropical paradises that hit you just in the dead of winter when you need sunshine and heat? Coincidence? We think not. There are always strategic times of the year when marketers know that people are thinking of getting away: dead of winter, holidays, summer vacations, stressful seasons of work, etc. During these times, you as a consumer are thinking about getting away so we expose you to what you want. A perfect example is the blog I wrote a few weeks ago highlighting the best tropic tourism marketing campaigns. In the dead of winter and after a huge snow storm seemed perfect but it wasn’t just for strategic marketing purposes. Admittedly, the topic also had a lot to do with my own selfish daydreaming.
Timing really is everything. And so is agility, especially in marketing. Being able to respond to a situation quickly can give you a huge leg up on the competition. I’m sure you all know what example I am going to cite now: Oreo’s tweet during the Super Bowl a few years ago. The stadium lights go out and Oreo tweets a quickly executed image saying “You can still dunk in the dark”.
There are also countless examples of fantastic responsive timing by companies during crises. Obviously the circumstances are terrible: natural disasters and tragedies. But, the primary motivation is not to release the best strategic marketing campaign; it is genuinely to help those affected. We couldn’t have a discussion about responsive timing without mentioning some of the incredible things that brands execute quickly during disasters. After Hurricane Sandy, Tide sent free mobile laundry trucks down to the Shore so residents without power could wash their clothes. Popular television shows take pledges during their regular programming to help those in need. Brands and companies donate supplies, money and manpower to help relief efforts.
Analyzing your business can provide valuable insights into the timing of your strategic marketing efforts. Recently, a company called Software Advise analyzed their online data and published a “2013 Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report”. Their analysis garnered some insights that are valuable to the masses but are also particularly valuable to their own business as they fully understood the peak times during the week and year when people engage with them. Thoroughly analyzing your business and sales cycle can uncover valuable pieces of information including how long your sales cycle is, whether there are purchasing trends related to your product or service and when people are most engaged with your brand. This information can help you to strategically time your marketing throughout the year. If it takes someone 3 months to make a purchasing decision and you find that most people buy in April, you should start courting customers in December/January.
The Bottom Line
Next time you think about your strategic marketing campaign, remember that timing plays a huge role, most likely in ways you never even imagined. If you know your audience, your brand and your goals the timing should come naturally.
Amazing Amanda. What can we say...we love her. She moved on to pursue big city NYC dreams, but there will always be a place at Stratus for our favorite craft-brew loving, salted chocolate-chip cookie making, loves leather boots and jackets Amanda. See all Amanda Dzwill's posts.