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The Power of Frequency and Consistency

17 Apr, 2002 By: Wes Phillips imageSource

The Power of Frequency and Consistency

improve sales, profit performance, and establish marketplace leadership for your
business, your advertising dollars must help you meet specific marketing
objectives. For advertising to succeed, there are two key points to follow.
First, you must tell a powerful customer benefit-oriented story in a believable
and motivating manner. Second, you should reach your most viable prospects with
that message.


month’s article explored each advertising medium to help you select the one
which most effectively reaches your target prospects, in the manner most
conducive to the nature of your message. However, simply “reaching” your
prospects, is not enough to ensure a successful return on your advertising
investment. Therefore, this month we will learn how to properly and effectively
use the media, which has been selected. “Reach” is perhaps the most abused
concept in advertising because (if caution is not exercised) it can cause you to
sidestep the question of why you advertise. Certainly, your expectations and
definition of results need to be commensurate with what advertising is able to
do. Yet, in most cases, results do not occur from simply “reaching” your
prospects. Even when the marketing message, its implementation, and media
selection, are correct.



is simple to state, “repetition is the key to success in advertising,” but
in order to make long-term ad budget commitments necessary to get a return on
your investment, it is important to understand why repetition works and then,
how to achieve it.



results occur when the prospect has been emotionally and intellectually moved by
your message. To help illustrate this important principle, think of the selling
cycle. A salesperson is able to get action (results in the form of a signature),
only after they have established a greater credibility in the mind of the
prospect than competitors are able to achieve.


want prospects to take some action as a result of your advertising. The action
may be to believe in a certain way, to make a phone call, or to come to your
place of business. Whatever action you desire; it will only occur after you have
gotten the attention of the prospect and have established credibility for your
business in the prospect’s mind.


and Consistency

creative message and its implementation, play an important role in establishing
that credibility. However, equally important is the frequency and consistency
in which you reach prospects. Frequency, is the number of times you reach each
target prospect on a weekly or monthly basis. Consistency, refers to a long-term
media plan measured in years. Naturally, both the frequency and consistency you
can achieve are a function of your available budget dollars. Each business
confronts a different set of budget circumstances. All companies that desire to
be a market leader must make the commit to a long-term advertising budget.



are several approaches to determining the size of an ad budget, even within the
document imaging industry. Each of these approaches must take a variety of
factors into account. These factors include overall cash demands, profit
margins, your size relative to the size of the market, sales projections, and
available co-op dollars.


office technology dealers we interact with indicate that they only allocate 1%
to 1.5% of total sales to advertising. This is very low in a dynamic industry
with aggressive competition and extensive growth potential. One formula to
determine an effective ad budget for the office technology dealers, who have
been successful in attaining a market leadership position, is 2.5% to 3.5% of
total sales (this includes equipment, service and supplies).


you have determined your level of commitment to an on-going advertising budget,
several techniques can be used to achieve proper frequency and consistency.
Begin by recognizing that, with a limited budget, you cannot impact every
possible prospect. The objective is to impact and to motivate prospects, not
just reach prospects. So the underlying objective is to target very specific
prospect groups and market segments.



now you should have specific definitions of your target audience. In addition
you should have made certain judgments about the media to carry your marketing
message. Starting with the most viable medium, determine the cost to achieve
high weekly frequency, using only that medium, and reaching only that specific
segment. Additional media can be added as the budget allows for proper frequency
and on-going consistency.


office technology dealers often say advertising is a “hit or miss
proposition.” That perception ceases to be valid when you follow the basic
conceptual rules that are being outlined in this article. The principles of
frequency and consistency are the same for all media and a few examples will
illustrate the point.



newspaper is your primary choice, determine the cost of three ads a week, each
week of the month, using various size ads. If the ad size you would like to run
with a frequency of three times a week exceeds your budget, use a smaller size
ad. Even a relatively small ad, designed with creative impact, achieves results
when it is seen week in and week out. If you are still over budget, drop one
week a month if necessary, and drop to two insertions per week. However, stay
with one specific section of the newspaper to help improve frequency with that
segment of the market.



radio, start with ten to twelve commercials a week on one radio station, that
reaches your targeted prospects. In addition, to magnify the effect of
frequency, only allow the commercials to air Monday through Thursday during the
morning drive hours of 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Additional stations should be
added only as the budget allows. Keep in mind that a few spots a week, on a
variety of stations, does not produce great results. In addition, your
advertising budget becomes even less effective if you plan your advertising in
13-week “flights,” followed by 13 weeks of no activity.



is interesting because you can reach specific market segments by “stripping”
particular programs. Let us assume the “late news” reaches your prospects.
After you determine which stations’ “late news” is most effective, buy one
commercial - three or four nights a week on a weekly basis. If additional budget
is available, add the next best “late news” station.



direct mail can be made more effective with frequency. Rather than mass mailings
two or three times a year, mail to a more specific prospect list on a monthly
basis. This approach becomes even more productive if each mailer is followed by
a telephone call.



media have demographic research material available. These statistics reveal
audience composition, as well as weekly reach, frequency and efficiency for each
market segment. You must exercise care in analyzing the material, because each
medium will want to spin the data to their best advantage. With the information
media research provides, you will be able to determine how you can use different
media to reach the same prospects, producing even greater frequency and impact.


is important to remember one thing; it is better to reach 10% of the market with
strong weekly frequency, than it is to reach 50% of the market with low weekly
frequency. Plus, an advertising strategy that incorporates media schedules with
high frequency on a consistent basis (year after year) produces more “hot”
prospects, faster! Also, an added bonus of embracing the principles of frequency
and consistency is that, you will have taken a powerful step in establishing
your company as the market leader—which increases the long-term value of your

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