If we got a fiver for every time we heard “we tried marketing and it didn’t work” from prospects, we would all be driving around in Porsche’s. If we’d had another fiver each time we probed and found out that this turned out to be one email shot to an iffy list, then we would have retired in the sun long ago!
Is there a magic number for repetition?
Marketing messages need repeating, but the million dollar question is how often. There is no right way to calculate effective frequency. Depending on whose papers you read, it could be anywhere between 7 and 30 exposures to a marketing message before any sort of positive response is measured. In marketing circles, developed by the advertising industry in the 1930’s, there is a “Rule of 7”. This rule states that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take any forecast action.
More recently, a study from Microsoft concluded between 6 and 20 was best, at least for audio messages.
Thomas Smith, in his book “Successful Advertising,” makes the following reflection on effective frequency:
- The 1st time people look at ad, they don’t see it.
- The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.
- The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.
- The 4th time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it before.
- The 5th time, they actually read the ad.
- The 6th time, they thumb their nose at it.
- The 7th time, they get a little irritated with it.
- The 8th time, they think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
- The 9th time, they wonder if they’re missing out on something.
- The 10th time, they ask their friends or neighbors if they’ve tried it.
- The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
- The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
- The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.
- The 14th time, they start to feel like they’ve wanted a product like this for a long time.
- The 15th time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
- The 16th time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
- The 17th time, they make a commitment to buy the product.
- The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.
- The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.
- The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.
Thomas Smith wrote his advertising book back in 1885, which goes to show that nothing is really new in marketing!
However, you can conclude from all the research that marketing messages are significantly more effective when repeated, whether its email marketing, PR, advertising or promotion.
Marketing Messages, Campaigns and Sales Growth
Translating this into your marketing strategy, you should be detailing how you will reach each prospect at least 7 times, or you can expect reduced sales success. It also probably true that in today’s clutter of media channels, the figure probably is higher.
So use the same marketing messages throughout your email marketing, advertising, vehicle branding, exhibition displays, printed literature, PR for maximum effect.
A good rule of thumb is that if you are totally bored with your marketing messages, then its probably just breaking through to the target market!
And on top of that, attention span is smaller, meaning that the quality and succinctness of the message needs to be carefully scripted.