Why When Matters

I was talking to the executive producer of the upcoming Michael Jackson Lifetime movie at an event yesterday. She is a legend in the business and yet she was concerned. About viewers. Will they know about it? Will they come? It’s premiering Memorial Day weekend – the first weekend of summer. It got me thinking about our changing times and why when you launch anything new is as important as the messaging around it.

When my TV movie aired in 1999, there were 4 networks plus HBO and Showtime to sell to. People stayed home to watch the Sunday night movie. (And in my case, the CBS Tuesday Night Movie. ) It was a staple in a world of limited choices. There was one screen – the TV that delivered long form entertainment. Obviously, our world is fundamentally different today. People now watch “content” on mobile devices and that means they aren’t forced to sit through ads or to watch a show all at once. They can watch shows when they air, or on demand, DVR or stream them through multiple subscription and free services. It’s the ultimate answer to the “I want what I want, when, and where I want it” problem. The networks are no longer in charge, the consumer is the boss. And there is more to choose from than ever before. Too much great TV, not enough time.

This issue of getting attention is true not only in TV but for launching any product or service. Timing matters. When you get attention matters. And yet, many entrepreneurs are so in love with their “baby” that they forget about the old rule: being at the right place at the right time. There is still a lot of emphasis on getting on TV or on a podcast or even in the newspaper. But here’s the thing, there’s no point in getting attention until you are ready. After all, unless you’re building a personal brand, you may want to wait until you have something to sell. Creating awareness is great. Converting that to sales is even better.

So next time someone offers you a launchpad for your new “baby” take a minute to ensure that the timing is right. That you are ready to make a splash. You know what they say: you only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count!

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