What’s the secret to great comedy? Timing.
What’s the secret to audience engagement? Timing.
It’s well understood that advancing technology and changing consumer behavior is driving an explosion in media options and the fracturing of content into more specialized subject matter. Your consumers are using an ever widening array of devices and sources to support their data gathering habits and their almost addictive-like craving for the latest piece of information to help them complete a task, or be one up on their friends, associates or competition.
As a marketer, you can quickly become overwhelmed by the proliferation of choice and also frustrated by a marketing budget that can’t keep pace. You just can’t afford to divide your scarce resources across all the opportunities that exist today, and you dare not leave out one channel or overlook even one segment.
That’s why timing has become so important. Were not talking about timing to ensure maximum reach and frequency, because it’s not about generating mass exposure at the lowest cost. Real timing is about reaching individuals when they are most receptive, taking into account how they are spending their time, what they are thinking about at any given point in time and what they are tying to accomplish.
In a world of active info-seekers successful marketers are building programs that give their target audiences that information when, where and how they need it. Moving forward, marketers will be rewarded for their skill in delivering information the consumer deems valuable and relevant to their task at hand.
This timing-based mindset should be adopted when building your communications plans and portioning out your media budgets. You should be spending more of your energy on understanding what your audiences are trying to accomplish throughout their day and figuring out how you can help them do that.
Some of the questions you want to answer are:
- Where do I sit on my prospects’ to-do list?
- How can I help the prospect perform their task?
- Where and when are they likely to seek out information about my brand or offering?
- In what other ways and conversations could I engage the prospect?
- What individuals in my prospect’s network should I also reach out to?
The payoff from this line of investigation is a plan that directs your engagement where you stand the best chance of being embraced by your target audience. But timing does more than define the optimum time and place; it also sets the stage for the conversation and the call to action.
That conversation also leads to an understanding of the wider network of individuals your prospect is interacting with and what they are trying to accomplish together. You can have a meaningful role in your prospects’ world if you know what they are looking for and when to deliver it.
In comedy you need a good punch line. But it’s always the timing that turns a good line into a great response.
by Mike Hensley
Executive Vice President, Global Client Service
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network