PR Briefing

Timing, they say, is everything. In marketing, it is doubly so. But being at the right place at the right time with your advertising and promotion doesn’t require an understanding of quantum physics. There is actually quite a simple recipe.

Here is the list of ingredients: Start by copying what has generally worked well for others. Next, take stock of the demographics and seasonal cycles that drive your business, and be proactive about targeting them. Then, hope someone else throws into the mix a pinch of incredible good luck. Results can vary, depending on which ingredients are added when, and in what quantities.

History Repeats Itself

One of the great things about being in business today is that we have centuries of marketing successes and failures to learn from. People have been selling goods and services since the infancy of civilization, and have left us many clues about what works and what doesn’t.

We know, for instance, that advertising works. But it works with varying degrees of success. One of the great variables is timing. Yet getting it right isn’t necessarily all that difficult. You need only start by following well-worn paths. When planning your newspaper advertising, for example, historical data will tell you:

Sunday is best, because it is the peak day for readership and people are always most receptive when they are relaxing.
Tuesday is the top runner-up since it tends to be a “slow” news day and ads have fewer headlines to compete with.
Friday is also a good choice, because people are looking ahead to shopping, home improvement and leisure pursuits over the weekend.
Certain times of year are better than others for launching direct mail campaigns. Responses tend to be strongest not during the frenzy of buying prior to the holiday shopping season, but during the cold winter months that immediately follow. That is also one of the better times of year to advertise in magazines. Historically, January issues have delivered the most responsive readers.

What about radio? Television? Targeted e-mail or faxing? Regardless of the advertising medium, there are boom periods and slow times. Unfortunately, these trends are by no means a secret and your competitors will eventually catch on to them, too, assuming they haven’t already. Even the right time can be the wrong time when everyone is advertising at the same time.