Some campaigns are well designed at their core, but fizz out uneventfully because they were triggered too early or too late. Unfortunately for the campaign managers, the audiences realise how important timing is only when your campaign is poorly timed. Optimising timing of campaigns is integral regardless of the size of the campaign.
Some of the best campaigns that you have seen may have been based on opportunism. With the right clues you can spot where such opportunities arise. These signals can tell you when your message will be received thoroughly and interpreted accurately. And that can only happen when it reaches you audience clearly and unadulterated.
Your message risks being lost in content shock. Its output should not have to compete with other conversations which are prominent at the time. Continuous observation of trends in media and journalist can help you figure if your message will face competition. Ongoing narratives which could be alternatives to yours must be mapped as it could dilute your reach.
Staying glued in can not only help you spot the right opportunities, but also warn you if the time is not right. It can help you understand the sensitivities that the brand should be cognisant of.
In 2010 BP unveiled a multimillion dollar PR campaign reacting to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There was merit in their sincere apology and efforts to engage with their stakeholders. But jumping into it too quickly, particularly before the spill could be cleaned up, completely changed the nature of the conversations. BP failed to realise that what mattered for people at the point in time was not their reaction to the spill but its resolution.
Whether its timing a massive media blitz or emailing a journalist at the right time of the right day of the week, optimising timing has become essential. Shrinking attention spans are making it more critical. If your campaign is linked with a specific call to action, it is wise to time it optimally ahead of it. Too early and your audience may move to another idea, too late and it may not be convincing enough. Building this accuracy, keeping a close eye on your ecosystem consistently will need very active involvement of your people and systems. Invest in building a setup that can easily track signals of your key communique. How smartly a campaign is crafted becomes irrelevant if it is not timed optimally.
After all, have you ever read a badly timed release?