In my other life, I’m a volunteer firefighter and an EMT. In Emergency Medical Services, the Golden Hour is the term we use to describe the time we have to get to the scene, stabilize the patient and deliver them to life-saving interventions. The clock starts ticking at the moment of trauma.

In branding and marketing, we have a clock too. It starts the minute an individual takes any action (such clicking a link or dialing a number) and continues until they receive the reward for their action. Let’s call it the Golden Minute. The actual time varies but the point is, once you’ve motivated a prospect to take action, you need to know that their clock is ticking and you have very little time to deliver. Here’s a personal example.

The first thing I do each morning is clean out my emails. I read the ones that are relevant to me, and delete the rest, most without ever opening. This morning, one email managed to get past the Carroll filter. Upon opening the email, I saw links to white papers and articles that were of interest to me. I decided to download one called “10 Ways Social Media Monitoring Enhances Your Brand”. I clicked the link, and the invisible clock started.

tick…………. tick…………. tick…………..

Immediately, a form popped up with all of my personal information pre-populated. My name, email address, address, phone number. Some of the information was old and the fields were editable, so I went ahead and made the changes. I then clicked the CHANGE button.

tick……..tick……. tick……..tick…….

The form refreshed and now wanted me to provide my email address again. But this time the CHANGE button appeared as a CANCEL button. ???

tick… .tick…. tick….tick….tick…..

Having no other choice, I clicked the CANCEL button, which brought me back to the beginning.

tick…tick.. tick…tick…tick…tick…

Giving it one more chance, I found some small print at the bottom of the page where it said  “Until you click the confirm email address link in the email we sent you, you will not receive any more bulletins from xxxxxx.” So, I went back to the original email and looked for where it said that.


I could not find what they were referring to anywhere.


I closed the email and hit delete. My clock had run out. I had invested as much time as I could and I needed to get on with my day.


Everyone has this internal clock and it moves faster for some than for others. Marketers need to be aware of this when planning  promotional programs. Getting the customer’s interest is important. Getting them to respond, and give up their contact information is very important. But unless you deliver what they came for, quickly and simply, you will have wasted the opportunity you worked so hard to create.