In a world of real-time updating where blurbs are the most likely things to be read, timing is more important than ever for marketers. It’s an overused cliché, but time is limited.
And for some reason, timeliness is often underutilized. It can make or break a successful brand launch, positioning, or the brand itself. There are hundreds of companies with great ideas, but many are overtaken by the competition because of unsuccessful brand management. To clarify what timing exactly is, it is the concept of strategically implementing different aspects of a marketing campaign at certain times to best reach your intended audience.
Whether it is for a large brand or a small start-up, understanding when to run campaign components is one of the main tools businesses and marketers can use to effectively reach their audience. I don’t mean reach as in simply sending information, but reach in regards to engagement and success with the intended listeners.
I had the opportunity to speak with Sondra “Soni” Simpson, a consultant with a background as a brand manager for Fortune 500 companies who helped build the well-known brands St. Ives and TRESemmé. Here she details the important role timing played during these campaigns, projects with which she has a less than astronomical marketing budget.
Q: What was a project you led that didn’t have a marketing budget the size of your competitors?
A: When I came into brand management at TRESemmé – Our budget was 1/10 of the top players in the industry. We had to be very creative and strategic about every dollar being spent and had to carefully plan out how the timing of the campaign was going to work out.
Q: Why was timing such critical factor in the success of the project?
A: We played a lot off of the recency theory which is where you want to be the brand message at the most compelling message closest at the time of need or time of decision.
We timed our dollars very well. So if we were going to do retail promotions, we were going to do a promotion in week one with one retailer, and a different retailer in week 2, and another retailer in week 3, and so on. We were always present and moving to different retailers allowed us to remain exclusive making the brand appear bigger.
With social media it was important to understand when the consumer is on social media and making sure we were actually on social media while they are on there. Graphically it was important to know exactly when they were online even when it was at 10 o’clock at night. We would be up posting our stuff and this was before automation so we had to do it ourselves.
Looking from a business to business point, it was the same idea working with retailers. We had to market with the same timing as consumers. Certain retailers would only sell products that were exclusive so the one week promotions really worked on both sides of the fence for us.
We really aimed to hit the right consumer, at the right time, with the right brand, and the right promotion. Because of this we were able to run three major promotions instead of just two because we had to make our dollars work much harder with strategic timing.
Q: Do you think that having a limited budget means being more precise with timing? Or is it just as important with larger budgeted marketing campaigns?
A: Absolutely not. It would have been nice to have some wiggle room in the budget but the strategy wouldn’t have changed. We just had to make our dollars work harder with the timing that we had and having the right timing really helped with having a smaller budget.
Without proper tools, like buyer personas or a true understanding of the target market, successful timing is difficult. Keep an eye out for my next post to see how a thoughtfully timed marketing plan is working for us in our efforts with clients!