07 Mar Marketing: It’s All About Timing
Identifying key times
At Insight Generation, our annual marketing campaigns often run on the academic calendar. While this occasionally throws up problems for our clients’ marketing budgets, we think it’s an essential part of running a properly coordinated annual campaign.
A great example is our work with a fitness client Xercise4Less. Traditionally, any healthy lifestyle company would gear up the marketing campaign for the January ‘New Year, new you’ campaign: but January isn’t a student’s new year, the start of the autumn term is. This is doubly true for freshers, who are often moving to a new place, making new friends and building a new identity around their chosen path.
Every company will have different requirements when it comes to customer calendars, but almost every sector is affect by these subtle shifts. Bars and clubs need to know when students are ready to celebrate, pizza chains need to know when they’re time-poor or in need of comfort food, and travel companies need to time their marketing to match holidays. Get your perspective right and you’re well positioned to take advantage, get it wrong and you miss a great opportunity to connect.
There are more nuances than meet the eye too. Companies are increasingly waking up to the need to engage with audiences further up the purchasing pathway. As Google’s Matt Bush puts it:
“The purpose of the running shoe is to run marathons, so rather than just focusing on the product, think about what content you can give people that actually helps them in their quest to run a marathon”
The same is true of every product, and to understand when you customers need information, you have to be tapped into their timeline.
For our student accommodation clients, for example, we support them in planning and delivering their campaigns during the busy booking periods. But we also help create and place content to bring their brand into consumers’ consciousness early, as in our Tips For First Time Renters article. It’s all about giving students advice on how to cope with private renting, and it was timed for publication well after most halls are booked up.
Here the value is twofold. Firstly, it reminds them of the halls of residence that are available if renting privately proves too much: effectively planting the seeds in the mind of readers ahead of next year’s intake. Secondly, sponsored content like this delivers genuinely useful advice in order to build a relationship and positive associations with the brand, even if it doesn’t immediately deliver sales.
Managing marketing pathways
With the right timeline, and long-term thinking, we can manage customers throughout their entire journey: from connecting with your brand through engaging, thoughtful and useful content right up to delivering special offers to encourage purchase.
We can do the same with employment, effectively marketing employer profiles at key moments in your business cycle. An example of this was our native content for Webhelp which highlighted the benefit of working while studying supported by geographic and audience specific digital advertising campaigns.
Throughout the journey one thing remains crucial, knowing what your audience is receptive to, and when they’re at their most receptive.