Marvel Marketing Minute – Don’t Forget About Time Zones!

“What time zone is this?”

It’s an important question to know the answer to when you land in a new place, and it’s also important to know the answer to when you send an email to your audience. Time zones can be tricky. Some countries observe daylight savings, while others do not, and the dates are different, too.

In 2018, our team was running a global program from September to November, with several weekly webinars across several regions. We had conventional reminder emails in Marketo that were pre-scheduled to send 30 minutes before the start of the webinar. So for a webinar starting at 10:00 am, we sent out a reminder email at 9:30 am. Everything felt timely until the last week of October, when we thought we made a mistake on the scheduled time of the reminder email. Instead of sending 30 minutes prior to a webinar in Europe, it sent 30 minutes into the webinar.

What happened?

In the frenzy to check if it was scheduled correctly or not, we checked the upcoming scheduled times for other regions, which were all correct. So how did we make a mistake for only one region? It then occurred to us. Marketo does not completely adjust for daylight savings. Being in the Pacific time zone in the US, Marketo would adjust for our time zone, and since for example, New York is three hours ahead of San Francisco, the time difference would be the same whether on daylight time or standard time.

However, Europe had moved its clocks one hour backward on Sunday, October 28th. The reminder email for the webinar that week in the United States was scheduled correctly and went out on time since the US’ clocks moved backward one hour on Sunday, November 4th. When it came to running our global program again this month, our team did our homework to check on daylight savings dates and what it would mean for the name of the time zone, as well as how it might affect pre-scheduling emails across regions.

For example, Brazil changed its clocks one hour backward on February 17th, going from BRST (Brazil summer time) to BRT (Brazil time). In the US, we move our clocks one hour forward on March 10th, but Europe does not change their clocks until March 31st, meaning there would be almost three weeks when the time difference between San Francisco and London is 7 hours, instead of the usual 8 hours.

Details like this matter when you’re sending sensitively-timed emails.

One tool to use when converting times between different parts of the world is timeanddate.com. Although there are several countries that do not observe daylight savings, the majority of your audience will understand the time and time zone you put in your emails. Ensuring the correct time in your emails will help your audience attend your events and webinars on time!

 

Anish Kumar

Posted by Anish Kumar

When I’m not flowing in marketing automation, I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, running, and learning about renewable and sustainable energy.