Repetition is Key!

How many times have you seen an ad for a company you’ve never heard of and immediately leapt to buy from them? If your answer was anywhere from rarely to never, then you’re not alone. It’s well known in the marketing industry that, while your first interaction with a customer is deeply important, action hardly ever happens after the first impression. You need frequent, varied exposures before your name is both recognizable and trusted, and that takes careful repetition.

People like things that are familiar). We tend to trust brands we see often because familiarity is comforting, making companies we recognize seem more authentic and reliable. Just imagine standing in a store with two very similar products in your hands. They both have the features you want and are similarly priced, but one is from a brand you recognize and the other is from a competitor you’ve never heard of. Which one are you going to buy? Unless you’ve had a negative experience with the well-known brand, you’re far more likely to buy the brand you know.

The question, then, is how do you get your brand in front of customers enough to gain name recognition without crossing into annoying territory? The answer comes in three parts:

  1. Vary Your Approach: While a pithy slogan (like Nike’s “Just Do It” or Apple’s “Think Different”) can lodge your brand firmly in a consumer’s mind, you have to be careful not to confuse a slogan with your brand messaging. Nike’s “Just Do It” works because it’s short, to the point, and, most importantly, the culmination of an ad, an asterisk at the end that reminds you you’re watching a Nike commercial. If all Nike ads were just an image of an athlete with their slogan slapped on top, you wouldn’t keep paying attention, would you?

    Your ad campaigns should follow the same basic principle. While you should always keep your messaging focused, your brand aesthetic on point, and your slogan clearly visible, you can also play around with different copy and design to create a wide variety of experiences. You want people to see your name, so give them a compelling reason to look!
  2. Use the Right Channel: Social media, digital ads, and emails all have their place in a well-rounded marketing campaign, but if you want to go for name recognition, the best place for your dollar is direct mail. Studies show the physical experience of sifting through and looking at mail creates a more memorable experience for the consumer and leads to better memory recall when compared to digital ads. Add in the fact that most people actually enjoy getting direct mail, and you have a powerful tool in your repetition arsenal.

    However, it’s important to note that, while direct mail is a memorable and welcome way to build brand recognition, you can still suffer from list fatigue if you’re not careful. Take time to review and revise your mailing list before each drop to make sure each one is more successful than the last.
  3. Don’t Overdo It: Do you remember that annoyingly catchy Kars4Kids jingle? It became so universally hated that the charity received death threats from annoyed citizens. While that might be an extreme example, the lesson still stands: don’t go overboard with the repetition.

    Repetition is all about appearing enough to remain relevant while not appearing so much that customers tune you out or, worse, develop a negative impression. The exact frequency of your social, digital, email, and direct mail ads will vary greatly based on your industry, but you can probably find a lot of answers hidden in your own experience. When was the last time you unsubscribed from an email list? At what point did you start getting annoyed with an ad that (that just wouldn’t stop following you around? What was the last piece of mail you threw away in frustration, annoyed that these people were still trying to get your money?

    Understanding how you react to advertisements will tell you a lot about how your potential customers are going to react. From there, data will help you refine the frequency of your advertising and give you the edge you need to hit that sweet spot.

            Repetition is a reminder that marketing is about more than short-term gains and conversions; it’s a long game, one that can sometimes be tricky to put into a dollar amount. While some of your advertising, like ads for events or deals, are designed to drive immediate sales, most of it is about building name recognition, creating confidence, and developing an authentic relationship with future customers. Repeating your core message is a long-term strategy that will pay off when customer need arises, whether that’s next week or next year. With careful planning and a multi-channel approach, you can ensure your name is top of mind right when that moment strikes.