"The important thing is that it takes more than one hit for your message to hit home."

 
 

"I ran an ad once..."

We’re always interested to hear people’s experiences of marketing: what works, and what doesn’t. Advertising and direct marketing often get a bashing. “I ran an ad once,” they say. “Got nothing from it. Not a thing.”
 
I can appreciate where they’re coming from.  You’ve come up with a great idea for a new advertising campaign; you’ve talked it through from every angle – just to make sure it stacks up; you’ve seen that idea translate into a visual concept; tweaked the design a few times until everyone’s 100% happy with it; and honed the copy until the message is just right.
 
By the time it hits the streets (so to speak), you’re sick of the sight of it. But that doesn’t mean you run it once and then hide it away. The people you’re targeting have never seen it before. And, if you only run it once, what are the chances they’ll even see it at all? They’re not looking out for it. It doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you.
 
You need that advert to work hard. Really hard. You need it to grab the right people’s attention, and then you need them to see it again and again and again and again, until the message sinks in. (See our previous blog "Why does Coca Cola still advertise?")
 
This principle doesn’t just apply to advertising. You’ll hear marketers talking about the ‘rule of seven’: the fact that people have to see, read or hear a message seven times before they remember it. I’d argue that number could be even higher now, when you consider all the different channels through which people receive information. Whether the number is seven or not isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that it takes more than one hit for your message to hit home.
 
People won’t see every tweet you post or every mailer you send, and your beautifully crafted and perfectly honed advert won’t hit the mark every time. This means that, although it might feel as though you’re repeating yourself, your audience may only be seeing or hearing the message for the first time.
 
There is a tipping point, of course, when someone’s seen or heard a message so many times that it stops being meaningful. That’s when it’s time to change your message. But getting to that point takes a lot longer than you think.
 
So keep the message simple. Tell it, tell it twice and then tell it again. Give it chance to reach the mark, and repeat it until it sinks in. Be out there, be consistent and be patient. It will pay dividends.
    
 
The Partners Group

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