Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

When Is the Best Time?

This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.


Okay, when is the best time for you? It depends. It depends on your product and your marketplace. Is it for consumers, you and me at home? Or is your offering directed to business?

Business and industry direct marketers usually don’t have the same seasonality as do consumer organizations. This is not always the case—for several years I sold Christmas trees and holiday decorations to large companies, office buildings, hotels, and the like. Try that in July some time if you feel that season doesn’t matter.

But for the most part, those that sell business-to-business have to do it year ’round. Yes, there may be a "season" that is better than another—maybe two. Such as fashion—which has two distinct buying seasons. Or the telecommunications and computer industries, which make major new product announcements at key trade shows twice a year. All their promotions are tied to these major special events.

Almost every month there is a holiday. January 1st is New Year’s Day. In February on the 14th is Valentine’s Day—and later in the month is Presidents’ Day. March has St. Patrick’s Day—and several religious holidays. It goes like this throughout the year. Different countries have different holidays, but almost every month everywhere, something special is happening.

This isn’t going to change. At least neither you nor I are going to change it anytime soon. So, if you tie your marketing programs to special events, holidays, and other occasions, you have to be alert to timing.

This is equally true for both business and consumer marketers. If you are American Greetings and sell cards and gifts for special days, you must sell-in to your dealers months ahead.

If, like Baskin-Robbins, you take advantage of special days for special promotions, you must sign up your network of dealer stores or distributors months ahead. BR works as much as nine months ahead in arranging their promotional calendar.

Many products can be sold at almost any time. Books are a good example. Although the chart may show some ups and downs in book sales, the range from best to worse is slight.

Telephone products move at a fairly equal flow every month. Anything that can be classified as a consumable, a commodity, or supplies is sold on a rather even keel month after month.

Timing is important for those that offer certain financial products. In the United States you may fund your Individual Retirement Account anytime during the year. And up to April 15 of the following year, tax time. When do most Americans fund it? In the last 45 days immediately prior to the absolute deadline.

How far in advance do you do your birthday, anniversary, graduation, or holiday gift buying? Scores of thousands do it at the very last minute—even though they had months of notice. If you use the telephone as a selling tool, you may find some research summarized in The Mouser Report interesting. They analyzed 25,000 calls to consumers at home, weekdays only, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Here’s what they found:

  • The best months are December and January.
  • The best days are Monday and Tuesday.
  • More calls will be answered in rural areas.
  • 20% of the time the line will be out of order.
  • 2% of the time the line will be busy.
  • 29% of the time an eligible adult will not be home.
  • 24% of all calls won’t be answered.
  • 10% of all calls will reach an eligible person.
  • 15% of those answering will refuse to talk.

What does all this say? What does it mean? I think it says almost anytime is a good time. Sure, some times will be better than others. When you plan well in advance you can conduct your promotion at the time you choose.

A friend from Australia tells a story about how Time–Life Books found a "new" selling season. With the seasons reversed from the northern hemisphere, the year-end religious and new year holidays are in the middle of the "down-under" summer. School is out, and many are on vacation.

It was tradition to NOT do any new product offerings at this time. They were bound to fail . . . no one was at home. Right? Wrong! The weeks beginning December 26 through January became one of the best selling seasons for Time–Life. Because they elected to try something that "everyone" said would fail. And guess what—it worked! You could find a similar season for your product.

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