There is so much truth in the phrase “timing is everything” that as a businessperson, you may have heard it hundreds of times and thought it to yourself thousands of times. A sobering reality-check is reported by Forbes, showing that 250,000 new products are introduced to market yearly, yet only 5% successfully stay in the market. That means that time, energy, and money was spent on 95% unsuccessful products that fail to capture the market.
Though there are many factors at play in this dismal failure rate, one aspect that is commonly identified as a problem, is the timing at which the product was released to market. A clear case study of how timing can influence the success of failure of a product launch, can be found in the smart phone battle for supremacy.
Apple launched the iPhone 4S in 2011 and sales of the device shot to an all-time high. A year later, they released the iPhone 5, where again sales of the new device topped 5 million in the first weekend. This was despite the fact that it really was not that much different from the previous model. However, by releasing a new product while the existing product was still top of the market, Apple employed its time marketing strategy to create a product environment where consumers expect continual innovation which drives sales.
Samsung, applying their own time marketing strategy, released the Samsung Galaxy smart phone midway between the release of the 4S and the iPhone 5. They capitalised on the market hype for new and innovative smart phone technology created by Apple, and by bringing a cheaper product to market. If Samsung had gambled on releasing their product closer to either of their competitors’ new devices, even the lower price point may not have been enough to counteract the buzz surrounding the Apple phone. By waiting for the Apple buzz to fizzle out, Samsung was able to an audience of consumers interested in top-of-the-range smart phone features but who were not interested in spending money on the latest status symbol.
A smart time marketing strategy allows a business to appeal to potential consumers at a time when they are most receptive of the offer, driving increased leads and sales. Timing is not only key on the larger scale, but also on a weekly, even daily basis. Research into consumer behaviour over time has shown that consumers are more inclined to certain interests on certain days of the week. A clear example of this in marketing is the higher likelihood of receiving marketing messages for tourism and recreational offers on a Wednesday based on the clearly established behavioural pattern that potential consumers are likely thinking of a weekend away, or even a holiday, in the middle of the work week.
A business that can understand such habits, and effectively build the right timing into their overall marketing strategy, has a far greater change of reaching consumers when they are in the right frame of mind to act on the offers presented to them, ultimately driving a better Return on Investment (ROI).
The key to a successful marketing strategy is a confluence of the right place and the right consumer in the right frame of mind.
Some general patterns that have been found to hold true over time, and should be taken into consideration when planning the next marketing drive, include:
- Consumers tend to make big decisions on Mondays. If your offer is for something large or expensive, consider delivering the offer just before, or early on, a Monday.
- Social Media is quieter on the weekends, but even though fewer people check their social media on weekends, those that do are more active and will spend more time doing so. This means that they are more likely to watch longer content videos or read articles than during the week, so weekends offer great opportunities to get longer form or great content noticed.
- Sundays are becoming the news supermarket days. Trend analysis reports are showing that consumers are increasingly going to the supermarket on Sundays, rather than the traditional Saturdays.
- Delivering marketing messages on weekends holds a greater chance of grabbing the consumers’ attention. For local small businesses, weekend marketing may capture consumers in a local-shopping mindset, increasing the effectiveness of a local campaign.
- The best time to send marketing emails is early on Monday mornings. This is because most people, as they are starting their weeks, sift through the inboxes and are more likely to give promotional material a read. Conversely, the worst time to send out marketing emails is on a Friday, where promotional emails runs a high risk of summary deletion.
Determining the right time to market any message to potential consumers comes from knowing your audience. Previous experience, backed up by historical data, is a great starting point to find the ideal time your target market is receptive, and responsive, to marketing messages. It goes without saying that great timing alone does not guarantee success: targeting, message, branding and design all play a crucial part in success – however, without great timing none of these elements can secure success.