Getting the Right Frequency

01/16/2015

Marketing has historically been an inexact science: as long as your proverbial shingle didn’t drive away customers instead of bringing them in, you could expect that people interested in products or services of the type you offered would soon learn about your business and come to your door, cash in hand. But we now live in a world with over seven billion people in it, and the markets haven’t grown bigger to accommodate – they’ve only grown more crowded. With the advent of radio and television, it’s easier than ever to broadcast your business’s existence to a huge audience, but the question remains: how do you make sure your commercials stand out when all your competitors are doing the same thing?

Sharper minds than ours have pondered the same question and, fortunately for all of us, they came up with some applicable answers. There have been many studies over the past few decades trying to figure out the formula that determines whether an ad succeeds or fails at influencing the buying decisions of potential customers: some claim that ads only need 2-3 exposures before they become effective, while others claim that ads need as many as 10, but the one thing they all agree on – the key to successful advertising, if you will – is that frequency is the critical element.

“But that’s obvious,” you say. “Of course airing your commercials more often means you bring in more customers. That’s just common sense.” And you’re right – it is common sense that airing a commercial more often means you reach a bigger audience and therefore more potential customers. But common sense alone doesn’t tell you how often is often enough, as this anecdote will show you.

We once had a client who came to us after pulling the plug on their previous ad campaign. “Wasn’t satisfied with the results,” they said. “Had to cut our losses,” they said. So we asked how long the campaign had run before they decided to call it quits, and they told us “one month.” Can you guess how many successful ad campaigns have run for a single month? Here’s a hint: zero. Things went from bad to worse when we asked them how often they actually ran their commercials: “twice daily from Friday to Sunday.” No wonder they weren’t satisfied with their results: 24 airings over 30 days isn’t enough exposure for people to register an ad’s presence, let alone make a buying decision based on it!

Of course, the flip side of this observation is that, unless you’re running a Fortune 500 company, you don’t have the resources to air your commercials every hour of every day. That’s where knowing the “sweet spot” for your specific product or service can come in handy. Depending on factors such as the type of product, the saturation of the market for that product, and even the newness of your brand, the optimum frequency for your ads can vary wildly. But if you do your research – and partner with a trustworthy advertising company! – you stand a good chance of building a bridge between your business and your potential customers.

As always, feel free to call us with any questions you may have about TV or radio advertising. Even if you’re not spending money with us, we’re still happy to help!

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