Timing is everything in life. Or so I've heard.
Recently this came in to play as I set out to meet a new acquaintance. We'd never met, but had conversed via email. I did my due diligence and looked him up prior to our meeting so I would know a bit about him, and what he looked like.
I arrived at our agreed upon meeting place right on time. I scanned the people there and noticed a man in the corner who seemed to resemble the picture I had in my mind. I walked over rather close, but not too close, and said, "Gary?". Nothing happened. However, he looked so much like the person I was looking for that I decided to try again, but this time I stepped closer. "Gary?", I said louder. Nothing. He didn't even look up.
Embarrassed that I might have intruded, I quickly moved away. I got a table and proceeded to wait. After about fifteen minutes I began to wonder what had happened. Where was my appointment? Then I noticed the gentleman in the corner pointing at me. He got up, came over and said, "Stacy?". "Yes," I replied, "Are you Gary? Didn't you hear me when I came over earlier? ". He said, "I'm Gene." We laughed and continued our meeting.
He let me know that he hadn't paid attention to me, even though I came very close to him, because he was engaged in a conversation via text with a family member. He hadn't even noticed I was there.
So, I had the wrong message (name) and he wasn't open at that time to receive the message. This happens frequently in communication, but it illustrates concepts that are important to businesses communicating with others.
What you say, or your messaging, is critical. It's not enough to simply put information out. You have to connect with something meaningful to your audience. I could keep calling, "Gary, Gary", until the cows came home, but until I actually connect with a Gary, it won't mean anything. My new friend could wait and wait for me, but until he actually looked around his environment he couldn't see me sitting there.
Promotional messages donít work if customers arenít receptive to them. A great deal of time and discussion in my industry revolves around, who should receive the message? What should the content of the message be? How should we deliver the message? This is all important, but the one question that should be asked is When should the message be delivered?
Timing, it could be argued, is most important variable of all. Promotions are similar to weather reports and news bulletinsópeople need them when they need them. Too early and they are forgotten. Too late and they are ignored.
Most people donít want to hear from most companies too much of the time. In an era of marketing overload, unsolicited communication can provoke apathy or worse, anger. So, how do you know if the timing is right?
Understanding cycles is a start. People aren't interested in school supplies in May for instance, or bikini's in December. Knowing your customer is also important. What is happening in their world that could impact your business? Reaching out for birthdays, anniversaries and other life events is another way to establish contact. However, there are many timing issues to explore.
Gene and I are now connected. We've learned more about each other and I have a much better idea of what is important to him. I've also revised my incorrect messaging. The next time that I see him I'll say, "Hi Gene!".
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.