As an “Advertising GURU” for over 40 years, the question most often asked is “How many times do I need to reach my prospect with my advertising message”? The short answer is “It depends”.
There are a number of variables to consider in advertising frequency including…
1. Which Advertising media will I be using?
2. What is the nature of my product or service?
3. Am I introducing a “New” product or concept or promoting an existing one?
4. Am I “Branding” or “Promoting” or both?
5. What are my Budget and/or spending restrictions?
Let’s look at MEDIA in this installment.
Media: This one is really misunderstood. There is a huge difference between let’s say “Broadcast” and “Print” media. In broadcast, there is no way to retain the message for future reference. In other words, when you see a Television commercial or hear a Radio commercial unless you write the information down immediately, you are only going to retain a small piece of it, but if done correctly, it can make a tremendous emotional impact! More about that in branding vs promotion.
It is important to understand “Frequency Distribution” here. What that means is that a heavy viewer/listener may be “exposed” to a message 10 or 15 or more times over the course of the flight. A light viewer/listener may be exposed only 1 or two times or not at all. The “experts” say that an “AVERAGE” frequency of somewhere around 3.7 is necessary for a schedule to make any kind of an impact. Of course, that 7th time is really hard to measure! During exposures (assuming the recipient is paying attention at all), the questions being answered are…
1. Does this product or service apply to me? For example: If I don’t own a car then new tire ads are meaningless!
2. If it does pertain to me then am I in the market now? If I just bought a new car then it has 4 new tires and I am not a candidate today. (More in branding)
3. If It does pertain to me and I am in the market now (I need new tires), then is it what I want at a price that I “perceive” to be of good value and so am I ready to purchase now!
It is a little more complicated than that, but you get the point. That is, however, where the unsuspecting advertiser has come to hear that an advertisement must do a succession of an ad “three times” to be effective. Remember…. This is for “Broadcast” only!
Print media is entirely different when it comes to advertising frequency. In print, you can save the message/prices etc. to which you may have an interest! A great example of this is in “Direct Mail”. Here. When a postcard is received the consumer will go through the same questions as in broadcast as to pertinence and value, but can decide immediately if it is relevant. If neither is present then the piece may go straight into the “round file”. If it is not relevant today, then it may not be relevant next month or the month after that. That is why the highest percent of return in Direct Mail is on the “first” mailing! It amazes me when I hear Direct Mail Companies tell advertisers that they should do 3 or more consecutive mailings for best results. NO! You are better to mail to more different targets. You CAN come back and re-mail to the same people say after 6 months or a year because circumstances can change after a period of time and at that time repetitiveness can be effective.
I hope that this gives a better understanding of the advertising “Frequency” question as it pertains to the Media used. Later on, more on how other factors affect the advertising frequency. Have other questions and want answers today?