IMB_pumpkins There is a moment when everyone does the same thing. Right around the 4th of July, most people will buy fireworks. And April 15th is one of the universally dreaded days of the year in the US, where millions of Americans seek help to file their taxes. And in the days before Halloween, everyone buys a pumpkin. The point is, many purchase behaviours are ruled by the principle of peak moments which define our activities.

As small business owners, chances are you have figured out the peak behaviours for your customers and are doing the same things that many of your competitors are doing. Whether that means staying open late around the winter holiday season or creating seasonal promotions, marketing to customers at a peak moment is a necessity of business – and most of us have a plan for it.

How much are you doing, however, to actively focus on marketing to your customers during off-peak moments? Today you can purchase washing machines with timers so they will wash your clothes during the night when water costs are lower – but few other aspects of our lives allow us to appreciate the potential of off-peak activities. In general, we live in a world where the power of off-peak activities are under-appreciated.

What if you owned the nightclub that only opened at midnight and stayed open until 6AM? Or the only movie theater to have breakfast film showings – at 7am?  Or you had the only dentistry with evening office hours? This is not only about timing either.

Thinking off peak means more than selling a Turkey during Thanksgiving. How about focusing on selling tickets for holiday packages the day after a long weekend so you can target all those customers who saw their friends go away for the weekend and wished they had as well? Or promoting a house to sell during a relatively unpopular buying time during the school year?

As more and more small businesses feel the pinch to conserve their marketing dollars, your competitors are more likely than ever to only have a marketing strategy focused on the peak moments for your industry. As a result, thinking off peak can not only help you reach customers and potential customers in unexpected ways, it can also help you to focus more marketing effort on a moment that your competitors are ignoring completely.