Explore the Strategy of Time Marketing
According to Forbes, companies introduce approximately 250,000 new products around the world every year. So why do many familiar products continue to line the shelves year after year?
Of these products introduced each year, as many as 95 percent fail completely, according to Cincinnati research agency AcuPoll. These failures are not only disheartening for a company, but extremely expensive. Companies spend large percentages of their marketing dollars coming up with advertising and placing new products. For the best chance at a successful product launch, companies need to do their research on how, where, and when to launch a new product.
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The “when” of this formula is known as time marketing - the process behind timing the release of a new product to the market. Depending on the product and the industry, many factors must be considered about the timing of new products. What day, month, or stage of a product's lifecycle should a company release a new product or service?
More formally known as “purchase timing behavior,” time marketing works to create guidelines about when to introduce a product in the marketplace or advertise to consumers.
According to a survey by Marketing Sherpa, the best time for a marketing team to send out an email is on Monday near 9:00 a.m. Because most people are beginning their weeks and sifting through their inboxes, they are more likely to give a promotional email a serious read. Sending out the same email on a Friday afternoon, when most peoples’ thoughts are already with their weekend plans, runs a high risk of deletion.
The release of a new product can be analyzed similarly – only on a much larger scale. For example, according to walletpop.com, more people buy cookware and kitchen gadgets in May and June than any other months. Because students are graduating from college in May and most couples get married in June, late April is the ideal time for a company to release a new line of stand mixers, slow cookers, or non-stick pots and pans.
As long as a business is able to track and identify their target audience and the marketplace, they can find a time to correctly market their new product offering.
For example, if a company sells sporting products, they can market them before opening day of each season. If they sell technology products, they can release their new products before the start of the school year – one of the peak buying times for computers.
For some companies putting together a time marketing plan, the nature of the product will largely determine the best release date. For example, throughout much of the United States, even the most revolutionary snow shovel won’t sell until late autumn. A device that makes planting vegetables easier won’t get a second glance from consumers in mid-January.
For other companies, however, product marketing may be a bit trickier (See also Product Marketing). For a swimsuit company, late spring seems like the most logical time to release a new line. But what about launching a line of swimwear in early December, when most people take tropical vacations? By offering swimwear choices that aren’t leftover from last summer, that company can appeal to shoppers with disposable income who want to make their winter vacation feel special.
Without conducting market research, companies will never know when consumers are most likely to buy a product. Market research provides critical information and direction for a time marketing team, and can make the dollars put toward a product launch go further. It identifies what consumers are looking for regarding product features, pricing, decision makers, distribution channels, motivation to buy, and (most importantly) launch dates. (See also Database Marketing)
*According to a 1997 study “Marketing, Science, or Witchcraft”
Marketing teams must take the following aspects into consideration: natural elements, cultural elements, old product lifecycle, and competitor product lifecycle.
Products that take natural elements (like the weather and the seasons) into consideration are driven by external factors. For example, in North America, a company wouldn’t want to introduce a revolutionary pair of battery-run gloves with built-in handwarmers in the middle of July. However, release the same pair of handwarming gloves right before Halloween, and sales would likely improve. The release of new lawnmowers, patio furniture, and outdoor games should be targeted for late spring and early summer, when customers are more likely to buy them with months of warm weather ahead.
Cultural elements include federal and religious holidays and the traditions that follow along with them. While sales of costumes are marginal throughout the year, they peak in late September and early October, when parents are preparing to dress their children up for Halloween. In the USA, although American flags are for sale year-round, sales of flags and other stars’n’stripes paraphernalia spike before Independence Day in early July.
Before launching something new, a time marketing team also needs to consider where the brand’s other products are in their product lifecycles. All products have a lifecycle, and many marketing teams choose to create a new product before its old product is at the peak of its sales. Because it takes time and money to develop and market each product, it makes little sense to wait until the older product is no longer performing well.
The ideal lifecycle timing is to introduce a new product right when the existing product’s sales are peaking. This timing means that customers are continually waiting for new products from a brand, but never have a lull where the old product doesn’t seem worth buying any longer.
For example, consider the iPhone. When Apple introduced the iPhone 4S in 2011, sales of the device increased to an all-time high. When the iPhone 5 was released a year later, sales of the new product topped five million in the first weekend alone, even though the updated product wasn’t that different from the previous offering. By releasing new products when the existing products are still at the top of the market, Apple’s time marketing strategy has created an environment of continual innovation, helping to maintain high sales.
Lastly, time marketing strategies need to take into account what the competitor is doing. The Samsung Galaxy cell phone was released roughly at the halfway point between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 – for a much cheaper price. If Samsung had begun selling its product closer to the launch of either of Apple’s products, even their lower price point may not have been enough to counteract the iPhone hype. By waiting until Apple’s buzz had died down, Samsung was able to capture the audience who was interested in smartphone features, but didn’t necessarily care about spending money for the newest technological status symbol.
A career in time marketing can involve everything from creative advertising plans to numbers-based research. Each of the following careers involves a degree from a marketing school and would be heavily involved in a time marketing campaign.
What do they do?
A time marketing campaign should be led by a marketing manager with a thorough understanding of the brand, the new product, and the marketplace. He or she is responsible for the timing of the new product launch. Typically, marketing managers oversee all activities within a company’s marketing, advertising, and promotional department – not just the time marketing schedule. They also establish brand guidelines and growth strategies, evaluate customer needs, and then develop creative event marketing ideas based on these goals.
Education and experience
Most marketing managers hold at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or a related major like communication, advertising, or business. Marketing managers generally begin in entry-level marketing positions, including market research and time marketing roles, and work their way up the career ladder.
What do they do?
A market research analyst is responsible for studying the market conditions locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally to determine the potential sales success of a product. On a time marketing team, a market research analyst is valuable in deciding when a new product would best be released. Generally, market research analysts are working with numbers, statistics, and probability, and spend most of their time at a computer.
Education and experience
A bachelor’s degree in marketing or business is the best path to a career as a market research analyst. Some more research-intensive positions at larger brands may require a master’s degree.
What do they do?
A marketing coordinator organizes and implements the day-to-day tasks of launching a new product. Usually responsible for communication with all the people who make a successfully-timed launch campaign possible, a marketing coordinator often knows the product and its audience better than anyone else.
Education and experience
Most marketing coordinators need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, event planning, or a related field, but generally need less experience than other positions in the integrated marketing field. They should have excellent time management and organizational skills, and should be able to manage multiple projects on tight deadlines.
Earning a degree from an accredited marketing program provides an ideal foundation for a career in time marketing. Because the success of a new product is so heavily dependent on when the product is introduced to the market, a specialized school that teaches students how to read a customer base and respond to their needs appropriately is an excellent way to build marketing expertise.
The best way to successfully implement a time marketing plan is to earn a marketing degree. From there, a marketing graduate can build a career and determine whether he or she wants to be on the creative side of a marketing campaign, or on the research-based time marketing side. Regardless, a degree from a marketing school will ensure the proper background knowledge upon which to build a future career.
To learn more about how a marketing degree can help you build a successful time marketing career, request information from schools offering marketing degrees today.