Back in February, I wrote a post about an ill-timed direct mailer — one using ice melt as an incentive to get facilities directors to use a specific paving service. The error? By February, those in building and facilities operations and management have long since purchased their ice melt for the winter. It’s not an incentive if you don’t need it. Hence why relevance includes timing.
Today, a company got it right. It might have seemed strange to the postal carrier — in the middle of a sticky, miserable humidity-infused July heat wave — to be delivering a mailer whose primary image was of ice-covered trees and cars encapsulated in two feet of snow, but it’s timing was perfect. This is exactly the time that people in building operations are spending money on winterizing and planning for cold weather. (I know — I’m married to one.)
I’ve written several times lately on how important it is for marketers to know their customers, and how what you know about customers can be non-intuitive sometimes. This timing certainly is. But this is clearly a company in tune with the rhythms of its customers’ fiscal years and purchasing patterns.
Next time one of your customers is sending out a personalized or targeting mailing, ask about the timing. Why are you sending this mailer at this particular time? Was the timing of the mailing considered as thoroughly as other aspects of the personalization or targeting? How do you know that the timing is correct? Have you considered all of the relevant factors?
It’s not your job to know all the answers. But reminding your customers to ask the right questions very well might be.