Watch Where You Reach and How Frequently

There exists a marketing axiom, a rule of sorts (which started in advertising) that you’ve probably heard. It goes like this — In order to reach your target, on average your audience must see a message at least seven times. It sounds great. Very believable and it even has a seven in there, which is a comfortable number to most people.

The “seven exposure rule” deals with reach and frequency. Now, just so we all know, Reach is the number of people you touch with your marketing message or the number of people that are exposed to your message. Frequency is the number of times you touch each person with your message. And as we’ve learned from Hollywood’s scandals recently, you want to be REALLY careful who you touch and expose your message to and how often. 🙂

Now, your modern digital marketers will look at their reach and frequency calculators (yes those awful things do exist) and come up with some kind of defensible number that they say helps a client increase awareness leading to the purchase of a product or service as we move people down the sales funnel. (Gag) They will insist that “retargeting” the message (those creepy ads that follow us around from site to site) does lead to purchases once the audience finally succumbs to the onslaught. Of course, they NEVER quite measure the amount of people they ANNOY to the point of never becoming customers. You see, that’s a different spreadsheet.

To me, this excessive pummeling the customer with marketing messages is not smart and it’s not marketing. In 2018, marketing is about RELATIONSHIPS and those evolve naturally usually led by the audience’s wants and desires somehow intersecting with the marketer’s products and services. But marketers trying to force a relationship by “exposing” an audience to their message multiple times is much like you trying to get a date by catcalling a woman MULTIPLE times from your car. Dude, she is not interested — back off and move on.

Rather than EXPOSING our message with high levels of REACH and FREQUENCY, why don’t we try ATTRACTING an audience to us like a band attracts a loyal following. How do you do it? Simple — by being GREAT at what you do and finding a way to intersect what you do into what your audience WANTS.

If you’re an expert in a field, demonstrating that expertise and helping people via your blogs, videos and other findable content is one of the best ways to create a relationship with them. If you’re a products company, getting people talking about your product and what it did for them via PR and other methods is by far the best way to that relationship and make others want the same kind of relationship. It’s not quick and it ain’t easy. Relationships never are.

Always remember, the relationship with the customer is your primary goal. And never forget that your puppy-like eagerness to communicate to them might just be THE thing that sends them away from your brand forever. It certainly will be if you “expose” them to your sales-driven garbage seven or more times. Sheesh.

In this New Year, I have hope that all marketers out there will abandon these silly axioms of old and adopt a new way of thinking — one that leads to long-term relationships with their audiences and the kind of marketing that doesn’t need to be exposed frequently to be effective.

Happy New Year!