Defensive Strategy

Timing is Everything

14 Dec 2009  

I spent the last week in Turkey teaching a course on branding.  While I was there a major snowstorm descended on Chicago. So I followed the storm, from a distance, by frequently checking the Chicago Tribune web site.  And as the snow flew, who bought all the advertising space on the Chicago Tribune home page?  It was Toro, advertising snow blowers.  The ad stated:

Shoveling is for amateurs.  Move more snow in less time.  Toro.

This is an example of effective marketing.  At the moment when everyone is thinking snow and shoveling, Toro shows up with the perfect message.  It was a case of the right message being delivered at the right time.  This is a good marketing lesson: timing is everything.

There was only one problem.  I did precisely what the Toro ad suggested and clicked over to the Toro website (  And I found myself looking at a website featuring…drum roll…sprinkler systems.

Sprinkler systems?

Is there a category less appropriate for December?  As the on-line advertising kicked in, sending people to the Toro website looking for snow blowers, the site was firmly focused on an irrelevant category.  It wasn’t even obvious where one would go to learn about snow blowers.  

This is another good marketing lesson: execution is everything.

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