The Power of When (1,434 words)
Timing is everything. For your direct marketing message to be successful, you need to make the right offer to the right person at the right time. So, when is a consumer most likely to buy? When will your offer have the most influence on a consumer's purchasing decision?
One of the best predictors of a consumer's intent to buy goods and services is a lifestyle change such as a move, marriage or birth. This is a time in a person's life when not only is he or she likely to buy, but must buy. Movers demand new products and services such as landscaping, wallpaper, furniture, electronics. What's more, the farther the move, the more changes are made: banks, doctors, restaurants and more. Engaged couples will purchase flowers, dresses, invitations and favors for their wedding day as well as make travel arrangements for a honeymoon and furnish a home. New mothers need diaper services, nursery furniture, baby clothes, etc.
When a teenager goes to college for the first time, he or she will be making purchasing decisions as a way of exercising independence, points out Becky Pennington, director of the Lifestyle Change Communications division of Georgia US Data Services. "This is a strong and competitive market, particularly with magazine subscriptions and credit card companies," she adds.
Lifestyle changes fall into one of two categories: primary and secondary changes. Primary changes are the most significant and command the most purchasing power. "Secondary lifestyle changes are more individual than primary lifestyle changes," explains Pennington. "For example, becoming a new mother is much more life-altering than, say, becoming a new pet owner."
Dubbed "synchographics" by Bob Perlstein, president of Sports and Entertainment Direct, lifestyle change data is different from geographic, demographic and psychographic data because of the time element. The window of opportunity surrounding a lifestyle change varies with the change. For example, explains Pennington, "a mother-to-be won't be interested in a diaper service during the first trimester of her pregnancy. At this point in time she's thinking about working the baby into her budget and buying maternity clothes."