Timing campaigns correctly is key

Back in 2020 (when this was originally issued) on one of the hottest days of the year I received an email from Russell & Bromley announcing their new autumn range. Was I wanting to think about buying ankle boots? Brogues? No, I was actually thinking that I needed another pair of sandals. Timing campaigns can make or break the success.

Timing campaigns optimally

Was the timing of the email from Russell & Bromley optimal? Well probably from their point of view having received their autumn stock they needed to move it through as quickly as possible to enhance cashflow. They may even had been thinking that they need to sell as much as possible as quickly as possible as come the autumn there was a chance that a second Covid-19 wave could mean that there is a second lockdown affecting their retail stores. (With that they would have been right) So, from their point of view it probably was timely from a business survival point of view.

However, from their customers’ point of view, struggling in >30C heat and humidity trying on autumn shoes was not a top priority. Managing to work from home effectively without air conditioning and a decent night’s sleep was more likely to be the issue under consideration and wanting a solution for.

External issues affecting campaigns

That leads to another issue that retailers such as Russell and Bromley were facing at that time too: People working from home tend to dress down. Not wearing shoes as they have the option of bare feet / comfy socks, slippers or trainers – none of which are applicable in offices, but can’t be seen on Zoom so who cares? So, if they are not wearing shoes then they are not wearing them out.

The ankle boots were probably fine as casual wear when socialising in the cooler months, as much as we could socialise during Covid-19, but many styles were just too dressy for around home. I know that I have several pairs of heels that go with my various business suits / dresses, that were not been worn in months, for some not at all for over a year! So, even though I had been a Russell and Bromley customer in the past, I didn’t need to buy again right now.

How to turn it round?

So, what could Russell and Bromley have done with their email to be applicable to me? Well concentrated on the leisure / casual shoes that they have, and dare I say it, sandals – I could have very well have been tempted to order a pair of sandals online when I opened that email, but I dismissed the email as irrelevant at this time for me. Lost opportunity.

Yes as Marketers we plan our campaigns carefully. We know launch dates and the order things are going out to the customer. But we also need to be aware that the situation can change for our customers for a wide variety of reasons and have the flexibility. The dynamism to react to those changes too to maximise the sales and remain credible to our prospects is all about timing campaigns. In B2B many companies use BANTS to qualify a lead, the T being timeliness of approach, maybe B2C marketers need to think about that too.

[originally issued 13/8/20; edited 19/3/24]