“Strategy and timing are the Himalayas of marketing. Everything else is the Catskills.”
If you hope to sway a viewer to watch your news, your timing must be perfect. You must catch her with a breakthrough message, when she has a need for the information. For example, I may see the ad for your whopper doppler, but if I want to buy your product, I must:
-be near a TV or computer
-have the free time to watch
-have a need for weather information at that moment
-not have a better weather alternative (the Weather Channel, Weather.com, other news stations).
News is a phenomenally perishable product. The odds really stink that you can pull off this kind of perfect timing on a consistent basis. The same is true of most products. If you hope to sell someone insurance, you must catch them in the narrow window when they are unhappy with their current policy, and have the time and inclination to pick up the phone and call your company.
This is why most of the big players on Madison Avenue build timing insurance into their ads. They build a product message that is a little time bomb. The words and images are delivered today, but inside the ad are clever tools that give that message staying power. The message won’t detonate until the customer is ready to buy.
How do you do this? You make full use of the best memory grabbing tool that is hard-wired into our brain – emotion. At some point a month ago, you were probably quite hungry. Yet you probably can’t remember exactly what you actually ate. You probably weren’t that hungry at your wedding reception, yet most of us could describe every morsel of food on our plate, despite the fact that it was years ago. By attaching a strong emotion to a message, you give it staying power. That means if you mess up on the ad placement timing, your message still has a good shot at being top of mind when the customer is finally ready to buy.
State Farm Insurance knows that when a prospect is ready to buy, he will get rates, coverage info, and other specifics from a State Farm agent or their web site. The company is smart enough to realize that a laundry list of policy specifics would be quickly forgotten by a prospect who is not ready to buy right now. So the purpose of their ad is not to sell insurance, it’s to get that prospect to make that call. And 99% of the people seeing that ad are not ready to make that call.
Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at firstname.lastname@example.org.