Facebook sends email at the worst time, perhaps on purpose

DirectMarketing guru Bob Stone once said, “Once JCPenney has its first Christmas Sale, you are done for the year except for giving gifts and charity.” Back then, JCPenney actually had sales and, when he said that, JCPenney’s first sale was typically around November 7. 

A separate direct marketing conventional wisdom is that sending marketing communications too close to a holiday dilutes the likelihood that a customer will read it.  Consumers are focused on preparing to travel or host people -- or perhaps a holiday event -- to read what you send.  And when they return, they are focused on digging through the most important email (or snail mail) to read marketing communications.

These two things intersect when considering that Facebook recently sent this notification of a change in privacy policy to its users at around 11:12 pm on the day before Thanksgiving. That would be a Fail for Timing.

Or perhaps they did not want many to read it – the email was a notice of a change in terms that are not favorable to Facebook's users. Some people have interpreted this change to mean they have to declare their postings off limits while sharing with hundreds of friends, leading to explanations on Snopes and news sites

Lesson: If you want people to read your email, avoid sending it too close to a holiday. If you do not want people to read your email, time it to arrive close to a holiday.

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