The Secret Ingredient to Successful Marketing and Advertising
We’re in a meeting with a new client batting around some marketing ideas when some suggestion causes the client to strongly state that advertising does not work for their product (or service). “Advertising is something we’ve tried, and it just doesn’t work for us because…”
I nod in agreement and let them finish. Then, I inquire about their efforts.
“Tell me, how did you advertise? Walk me though the campaign.”
“Well, somebody called from (insert company, publication or agency here) and introduced us to a great deal on advertising in their product. We spent all this time designing the ad and ran it, and nothing really happened. I don’t think we even got one customer. And it wasn’t just that time, we’ve tried it in a number of other places as well, it just hasn’t worked for us.”
I’ve heard this too many times to count, and I immediately follow up with a simple question, “How many months did you run this ad?”
The response is normally some variation of once, a couple of times, or a couple of months. Whatever the quantity, it’s always accompanied by “It wasn’t working, so we pulled the plug, of course. Why waste money if it’s not working?”
Logically, their instinct makes complete sense. We tried it… it’s not working… this isn’t for us. In reality, there are many counter-intuitive laws in marketing, and the one so many small businesses overlook is the power of frequency in advertising. Often, it’s not the ad, offer or message that is falling short but the frequency in which the prospective customer is exposed to that message.
Why would those law firms run their ads on the back of buses day after day, month after month for years if they weren’t working?
The truth is, those firms—just as the pizza companies that run their ads every day in the hours leading up to dinner, and the expensive business consultant that delivers you a newsletter every month in predictable fashion—have all learned that frequency is a necessary ingredient to acquire new customers.
The frequency in which you will broadcast your message should be just as important as the design, message and delivery choices you make when planning any advertising or marketing efforts.
This understanding of frequency and the need for repeated exposure to a new message can be used in many facets of your marketing besides advertising. Have you ever downloaded a whitepaper and received a seemingly, perfectly-timed special offer one week later for more information or an upcoming seminar? This is a great use of multiplying one interaction into a series of reinforcing interactions that make up a more effective marketing experience than could ever be achieved in one fell swoop.
Think about the way you choose new services similar to how you make new friends. You rarely meet someone once and decide to start a friendship. It does happen, but more often than not you realize you keep bumping into someone in multiple places and subconsciously you start to give that person a second look. We do this with the products and services we buy too.
Familiarity, and preference, are always shaped by time. Be aware of frequency and decide how it fits into all of your marketing efforts. I guarantee it will impact the results you get.
I bet many of the companies who have sworn off advertising would have had a very different outcome had they embarked on a complete advertising plan that unfolded over a deliberate time frame, possibly using multiple mediums, rather than just trying an ad or two.