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The Power of Start Times & Finish Lines

I’ve been studying the things that influence you and I, and, influence our events.

Important things, like the influence of time, the places, and the people around us.

Why is Understanding Time important?

We are all trying to get the most out of our days, for us, and our teams. If we can understand how we can influence things like time, we will make our lives easier. And likewise, if we can use time to positively influence our fans or our participants, we are in a more powerful position.

The Influence of Timing

With the start of a new year and the “before Christmas” end of year deadline still fresh in our minds, we are reminded of the influence of starts, and finishes.

Like our blank new calenders, with the New Year we can take a fresh look at how we fill our actual days.

The Power of Start Times 

We know it is human nature to start with a bang, whether that is start of the year, a new venture or new event.

“Most of us have a sense that beginnings are significant. Now the science of timing has shown that they’re more powerful than we expected. Beginings stay with us for longer than we know, their effects linger to the end”.Dan Pink – WHEN, The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

Study’s have shown that points in time such as the first day of the year are “temporal landmarks”. Just as we use physical landmarks like ‘the pub on the corner’, we use dates as landmarks to navigate in life. And we use the ‘fresh start effect’ to good effect. It won’t surprise you that Google searches for gym memberships spike at the start of the year, but also the 1st day of a month, and 1st day of each week. Even after a long weekend. And this interest also translates to action, people attend gyms following the same pattern. So it is worth thinking about how this applies to your event and activity.

When we were at parkrun on Saturday we were reminded of the school cross countries of our youth. Remember that mad dash at the start, most people sprinting way beyond our capability. We were all stuffed pretty quickly!  

So I think it is valuable to harness the effect of these new starts, and riding it for best effect. Taking care to step through the most influential areas and tasks in life. Not burning out, or burning good energy on insignificant things.

The Power of the Finish Line

And we know the power of a deadline for people, especially so in events. For our teams, our fans and participants. Like beginnings, end points massively influence the way we behave, what we think and do. Harnessed in the right way they energize us, and elevate our performance.

 Just like in that cross country, we often found some energy, somewhere, for the heroic final (often short!) sprint finish.

So start again, and finish more

Using multiple starts and finishes are valuable weapons of influence.

For you, and your team.

Our Experience Design Playbook promotes the use of Agile methods, such as Stand Up Meetings each day, in project Sprints, creating regular starts and finishes to influence your progress.

And for your event

The start, the launch of your event, and the finale, your event coming to a culmination, are equally powerful forces. We often use these moments to influence our fans and participants to good effect. When you launch you see a spike in sales (and yes most often with a drop afterward), to then (hopefully!), you see an upward spike toward the end of sales. Yes, it is human nature to wait for the finish line, despite our efforts (and much to our frustration!).

So, start again, and again, and finish more often

We know that ‘pre purchase’ and ‘early bird deadline’ promotions work well. Studies show they are the most popular tactic for Event Marketers. So it is worthwhile thinking how starts, and finishes can be harnessed more, and how creating more of them can help you win more fans and influence people.

But, don’t be lazy and just use price as a catalyst. It is as much the pressure of time that is the influence, not just the discount. It is the fear of missing out, on the deal, on what others will get. These factors can all be mixed in to create a potent cocktail to influence people. This is why monthly and weekly phases of messaging and calls to action work. Combining other influential elements with the catalyst of time, such as scarcity, status and exclusivity are powerful weapons (think VIP access, inner sanctums, ‘3 seats left’,and ‘ once in a lifetime…’). I think you can upsell more than discount down. 

The Time of our Lives

We know we are in a golden era as event experience providers. People are looking for experiences, for moments to enrich their lives. I speak a lot about making ‘Moments of Impact‘, and showing up at the right time has become a powerful influence in our audiences lives. ‘Moment Marketing’ is the new buzzword and it is going to help you win fans, and investment from partners. But more on that to come…

I hope this helps you think about the influence of time, on you, your team, your fans or participants. 

And I help people create more influential events, with a strategy to execute. So if I can help out, just let me know!

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