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Archive for March 11th, 2012

Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time has 4 important lessons for book marketers

What do Arizona, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Guam have in common? These US states and territories do not observe Daylight Saving Time, which began this morning at 2 a.m. in many parts of the world. See map here. You would think that living in a state that does not change its clocks in a twice-yearly act of collective goofiness would make things simpler, but such is not the case. Year-round, you hear Arizonans asking questions like, “What’s the time difference to New York right now?” See, we don’t spring forward or fall back, but most of the rest of the world does, so when we do business with people in other states, sign up for teleconferences or webinars, or go on vacation and try to watch our favorite TV shows, things can go awry.

What can book marketers take from the semiannual time change? Here are 4 lessons:

SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A WHILE FOR AN IDEA TO CATCH ON. According to a National Geographic News article by Brian Handwerk, Ben Franklin was the first person to suggest, half tongue-in-cheek, that resources might be saved if the country were to awaken earlier and burn less oil. However, it wasn’t until World War I that a daylight savings program was implemented on a mass scale. Germany was the first country to adopt the time changes in an effort to reduce the use of artificial lighting and save coal for the war effort. Allies and enemies soon followed suit. In the U.S., a 1918 federal law standardized the annual start and end of DST for the states that chose to observe it. That’s a 134-year spread between the first mention of DST and its wide-scale implementation. So stick with your book marketing campaign and get it in front of the right people!

MARKET RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT. One of the biggest reasons given for continuing the twice-annual changing of the clocks is energy savings. However, prior to 2006, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties observed DST. When the whole state adopted the program, before-and-after energy use comparisons became possible. Interestingly, although the use of artificial lights decreased, air-conditioning use increased, more than offsetting any energy gains, according to DST research for the National Bureau of Economic Research. What type of research will benefit your marketing campaign?

CALENDAR REMINDERS SO YOU DON’T MISS APPOINTMENTS. National surveys show that nearly 30 percent of people admit to having been an hour early or late at least once in their lives because they didn’t change their clocks properly. As long as we continue to observe the time changes, make sure you calendar these important dates so you don’t miss important meetings. For those who need a reminder, DST begins at 2 a.m. the second Sunday in March and ends at 2 a.m. the first Sunday in November. Here’s a chart with all the beginning and ending DST dates through 2015.

PAY ATTENTION TO TIME ZONES. When scheduling webinars, teleseminars, and other virtual events, choose a time that works for the majority or your participants. And make sure you let folks know the proper time for their time zone. You may want to include a Time Zone Calculator on your sign-up form.

When it comes to the pro- and anti-DST camps, I’m firmly on the opposing side. I’ve long thought we should just agree on a date, split the difference on the half-hour, and call that TIME. Period. The good news for me is that I’m on the same schedule today as I was yesterday. Mountain Standard Arizona, baby!

Happy time saving!

Laura

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