Tuesday, 13 August 2019

All About Timing

People talk about the “4 Ps” of marketing: Product, Pricing, Promotion and Place.  A critical 5thelement to me is “Punctuality” (or “Pronto”?) - the timing of the delivery of the product/service. 

My wife and I recently visited a local small business that sells delicious lunch boxes or snacks to get our midday meal.  On entering at around 12:30pm, we noticed that the shelves were, to put it mildly, bare. We asked the assistant if we were too late and whether they’d sold out. 

To our surprise, she answered that their lunch deliveries usually came in at 1:30pm. To us, this seemed strange – why would you stock up just as the lunch hour is starting to come to an end?  There’s a large number of restaurants and other food outlets in the area, so this particular place didn’t exactly have a monopoly of the local lunch trade, and yet here they were putting themselves at a major disadvantage. 

Another business specialised in food delivery to homes.  The trouble was, the food took a long time to reach the home and, when it arrived, it was cold.   

In each case, both businesses had identified a problem in the market, their ideas were sound, but the execution in terms of timing was poor. 

When people buy something, they want it as soon as possible (even if it’s something that takes a few days to ship over).   “Delayed gratification” isn’t what they’re looking for. If we can’t provide it when they want it, they’ll go to someone who can. 

I felt very sorry for the young lady who served us on this occasion.  She clearly saw the problem, but there was little she could do about it. 

Lesson for us all, make sure we get the “timing” right.  If we don’t, the competition will…

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to provide solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email. My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services. For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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