Prospects To Go says BTB holiday blasts are a 'no-go'

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Marketers can lose a percentage point or more in response each time they send business-to-business blasts during 10-day major vacation and travel periods around Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Prospects To Go LLC.

The list brokerage and media-buying service firm recently released a industry calendar that shows marketers dates to avoid when sending BTB prospecting e-mail blasts. The calendar is available on its Web site at www.prospectstogo.com/calendar/index.html.

"Overall, I'm always trying to steer clients to think about planning their marketing activities and allocating budget over a longer period than just one campaign to get leads now or draw prospects to an event in two weeks," said Lisa Bowen, media buyer and list broker at Prospects To Go, Oakland, CA.

"Also, when people first started sending out e-mail blasts there was a long window between a blast and whatever it was announcing: an event or promotion," she said. "Now, it seems like half our clients are blasting a little more than a week ahead of time, so if there's some snafu on the dates, it can really have a negative impact."

Most marketers carefully plan events and promotions to skirt holidays and special "off-limits" dates like Sept. 11 or Memorial Day. Very often, the same attention isn't given to the campaign launch date when your e-mail invitation will go out, she said.

Some celebrations are one-day events that you can easily work around like Martin Luther King Day, for example. But mailing during the Thanksgiving and Christmas slowdown is another thing.

"I started out with my intuition and common sense," Ms. Bowen said. "Then, I called a couple list-manager friends to get their take, and they had the same ideas I did: Friday and Tuesday "bookends" around holiday weekends, and typically complete weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Independence Day (unless the holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, then people are more apt to take a long weekend off rather than a complete week)."

One date that is not in the calendar but will be added is April 14 and 15.On April 14 half of taxpayers still haven't completed their income-tax forms, making it a pretty anxiety-riddled day, she said.

"Then on the 15th everyone is depressed. I always advocate the 16th and later," Ms. Bowen said.

"We wanted to create a simple tool that marketers could consult that addresses the question of when to blast and when not to blast," she said. "Everyone knows Thanksgiving or Christmas is coming up, but unless you really think about it and look on a calendar, you're not going to consider that there are really 11 days when your BTB e-mail is not going to be as effectively received as other times."

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