Timing is a critical element in business-to-institution (b-to-i) campaigns. In fact, it is so important that choosing when to mail will directly affect how successful you will be.
John F. Hood, president of Sweet Springs, MO-based b-to-i mailing list firm MCH, writes in the recently-released white paper, “Beyond B2B—A New View Of The Institutional Market,” that selecting drop dates that correspond with your customers’ discretionary and clean-up spending timeframes will help you maximize profitability and increase response rates.
Hood points out that most b-to-i mailers of us would enjoy having the resources to conduct year-round campaigns. While it’s true that some level of discretionary purchasing occurs on a year-round basis in institutions, there are also extremely time-sensitive opportunities. For example, in nonprofit and government-funded organizations, fiscal year-end dates and budgets have a significant impact on purchasing decisions.
For most nonprofit organizations, the months near the end of one fiscal year and beginning of the next are the critical budgeting and purchasing period. Your product and service offerings need to be in the hands of purchasing influencers at the time they are discussing budgets for the upcoming year. Likewise, capitalizing on “clean-up” spending prior to the end of a fiscal year is equally beneficial. Clean-up spending means using left over budgeted funds before the end of a fiscal year to avoid losing them.
A key contrast between institutions and businesses is the difference between public and private accounting standards:
- In businesses (private institutions), managers are incentivized to reduce costs to
- maximize profits.
- In public institutions, managers are incentivized to spend their entire budgets.
If a department doesn’t spend all of the money allocated to it by the end of the fiscal year, the money is returned to the general budget and the department’s budget for the next year may be reduced. So hitting institutions with an offer at the right time is sure to increase response.