Timing Your Offer
There’s an old saying, “Timing is everything.” In marketing, timing doesn’t overshadow the offer or list, but it’s an important factor as you try to gain more customers.
When you use direct mail marketing, and really all sorts of media, take into consideration how important it is to get your offer to your prospects at just the right time.
Proof of the importance of timing appeared in my home mailbox Thursday, December 3, when I found two sale promotions in the day’s delivery.
The first was a small, plain envelope with a one-page insert. It advertised the “Quitting Business Retirement Sale” at a local bookstore. As a past customer, I was on the Special Invitation list to get the liquidation announcement. The letter-style insert included details and said, “You are the first to know.”
Not really. I heard about the store closing the day before while I listened to the morning hosts of a local radio station. They brought up the topic because it’s a long-time local business and they read about the closing in a news story in the morning newspaper.
The letter told me the liquidation sale started “at 9:00 AM SHARP!” on December 3. Oops. Even if I had the day off, I wouldn’t have seen the notice until about noon when the mail truck arrives at my home. Guess I missed those initial door-busting prices.
The next offer I opened was an invitation-style white envelope from a large Omaha furniture store that does extensive regional marketing. Its insert told me, a preferred customer, about an invitation-only private sale beginning December 2. Here’s an even bigger “oops.” The announcement is already a day late and, since I see my mail after 5:00, I’ve also lost the second day of the 7-day sale.
Sure, at this time of year you expect mail delivery to be slower than usual. But here’s the lesson to take away. Plan in advance to get your promotion into the hands of your prospects. Don’t let last-minute rate changes, crowded printing schedules, or slow mail deliveries upset the arrival of your promotion — which makes a bad impression on prospects and hurts response.
This is especially true if your project runs the gauntlet of committees and multiple approvals. Start early. Give your co-workers deadlines — even your executives. Be firm. Let them know any comments or changes that come in after your deadline are too late.
If necessary, get your president to issue a blanket directive saying everyone should meet marketing project deadlines. These are company promotions, after all. No petty bickering or office politics allowed.
With all the time and hard work you put into a project, give your prospective customers plenty of time to take advantage of your amazing offer.
If you’re curious, the saying, “Timing is everything,” is attributed, at its earliest notable use, to William Shakespeare, who wrote, “Timing is everything. There is a tide in the affairs of men which when taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries.” It comes from Julius Caesar, Act 4.
That quote, especially with the reference to fortune, tells me Bill wishes he were a marketing copywriter.