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Timing is Everything!


Carefully orchestrate all the phases in your marketing campaign by understanding your customers and what makes them tick.

When you think about improving the results of your 1:1 print campaigns, you may think about the list, the offer, the variable fields, and the messaging, but how often do you think about the timing?

The timing of a mailing is something that too often gets overlooked. For example, a marketer’s focus may be on the mailpiece landing a day or two before, but what happens if something goes wrong? What if your “one day” Saturday promotion is designed to hit on Friday but gets stuck on the loading dock for an extra 24 hours? It might be no harm done for people who get their mail early Saturday morning, but what about those for whom mail arrives at 4:00 PM?

That’s why timing involves not just planning the day you want the marketing touch to arrive, but the time of day. For example, if you are doing email or text messaging follow-ups, some recipients may want to receive contacts in the middle of the day (right as the sale or promotion is kicking off), while others may see that as an intrusion and prefer to wait until they get home.

Setting the timing of your campaign components requires an understanding of who your custom­ers are and what makes them tick. Sometimes the timing is obvious (such as sending holiday promotions one or two weeks ahead of time). Other times, they may require more insight.

For example, one contractor took the time to create a beautiful, glossy postcard to promote its surface overlay installation. It purchased a list of names of facilities directors at a variety of businesses, schools, and nonprofits, and mailed to them by name. It was mid-winter, and as the incentive, it used free ice melt to help reduce slippery conditions on parking areas. The list contained the right target verticals, the right job positions, and the right heads of department. But facilities directors tend to purchase ice melt in the fall well before the first snow hits (not in the winter when the campaign was sent), making the incentive useless to the marketer’s intended audience.

When it comes to 1:1 printing and relevance-based marketing, we have to think beyond the data. What is really of value to the person receiving the mailing? Does the offer have relevance and value not only to the person, but at the time the person receives it?