- McCord Cargile
A Marketing Fairy Tale - Part 7: Time
The next day, the woodman was so excited about all that he was experiencing and learning that he arrived at the magic meeting place in the forest an hour early. He could hardly wait to meet the next visitor, and find out what she had to share with him. He was reviewing in his mind thoughts about money (his budget for marketing), alignment (his target markets), reach (geographical and demographic), knowledge (interesting information to share), and events that he could schedule.
When the appointed time came, he was watching for another cloud of smoke, and saw . . . nothing. He thought that, in his excitement, he must have gotten confused about the time for the appearance. He waited, and waited, and waited. No cloud, nor any contents of a cloud, appeared. At nightfall, he returned home, bewildered and disappointed. As he walked toward home, he said to himself, “You silly goose! This has all been a dream. Oh, well, if it has been a dream, it has been a useful one.”
The day after, the woodman, always the optimist, went back into the forest. He felt a mixture of anticipation, frustration, confusion, and just a tinge of sadness, as he waited for the appointed time on that day to arrive.
At the exact appointed time (but one day late), his uncertain gaze was met with a cloud of tangerine smoke. The magical being who appeared from the cloud asked a question that sounded familiar, “Am I on time?”
The woodman replied, “Well, you are here at the right time of day, but your timing is a bit off - by exactly one day. I was looking forward to your visit yesterday. I had begun to think that you would not come at all. I was thinking that I had imagined this whole thing.”
“What do you think you would have done”, the magical being asked, “if I had not appeared for a few more days?” The woodman said, “I am not certain, but I doubt that I would have kept coming to this spot to look for you.”
The visitor from the tangerine cloud said, “My name is Tina, and that is the subject of our conversation for today. We will be discussing the importance of timing. I know that my sisters have been speaking with you about many things, but if I asked you to describe what all of them were trying to tell you, what would you say?”
The woodman answered, “I guess I would say that they have all been talking to me about getting in contact with the people I would like to sell to - and then staying in contact.”
Tina asked, “Have you made contact with them?”
The woodman said, “Yes, when I put up my posters.”
“Have you contacted them again?”
The woodman replied, “I certainly will!”
“When?” asked Tina.
“When I get a chance.”
“What will your prospects do in the meantime?” was Tina’s next question.
The woodman answered, “I am not sure.”
Tina asked, “What did you do yesterday, after you waited and I did not come?”
“I left,” said the woodman. After thinking about this for a moment, he then said, “I guess they will, too.”
Tina said, “The key to capturing the attention of your prospects is one kind of timing - getting a message to them at a time when they will be receptive. You did this well by getting your products - or pictures of them - in front of your prospects at a time when they were shopping.”
“The key to keeping the attention of your prospects is the other kind of timing that we must consider”, Tina continued. “That is the frequency, or interval, of your contacts with your prospects. The important thing is to get ‘in front of’ your target audience often enough to not be forgotten by them.”
The woodman asked, “How often does that need to be?”
“Only you can answer that,” Tina replied. “What is important is that you figure that out, and then stick to that frequency consistently.”
“I believe that my sister, Edith, talked to you about marketing being all about creating relationships,” Tina said next. “What is the most important thing to maintaining a relationship?”
The woodman said, “Keeping in contact.”
“Very good!”, Tina remarked. “What is one good way to end a relationship?”
“Getting out of contact.”
Tina said, “You seem to be catching on quickly! I believe my sister Grace will have more to tell you about keeping a grasp on your prospects. Now I have another person to visit, whose best time of day to pay attention to me is in just a few minutes.”
The woodman began to wonder what day of the week most of the townspeople would be in the marketplace, when Tina interrupted his thoughts. “Just remember, timing is everything!” With that, she disappeared in another cloud of tangerine smoke.
The woodman was thinking about frequency and intervals, when he realized that is was time to feed Ralph.