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Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B:

• Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.

• Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.

• Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.

• Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.

Here is where the campaigns differed:

Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.
Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.

To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.

How well do you know your target audience?