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Advertising frequency and the cumulative effect

Posted: 01/07/2020

Frequency of advertising is important to make sure you are, ‘top of mind’ or at least on the mental list people make when they go shopping. Not everyone is in the market to buy at any one time. Someone thinking of purchasing a car, for example, may be in the market for weeks or months, but once a purchase has been made, it may be many years before they are in the market again.

People will consider frequent and less expensive purchases, such as groceries, regularly and may go to their usual supermarket without a thought of going elsewhere. How can they be tempted to switch? Frequent advertising is called for to attract them or prevent them going elsewhere. They may need constant reassurance that they have made the right choice.

A single advertisement from someone who has never advertised before can work. But would that advertisement continue to work over many weeks or months? Not likely because memories fade, and new advertising messages replace the old ones from different advertisers.

People like to have confidence that the business they are buying from are reputable and longevity of trading suggests that other people have found their offerings attractive (which is why you often see the date the business was established in advertisement). It’s about confidence.

The same principle applies to advertising. If members of the public see advertisements regularly, they feel more confident about buying from that source.

There is an oft-used example of a bespoke tailor who bought the earpieces (the small spaces next to the masthead) of his local paper for decades. When asked why, he said that not everyone wanted to buy a suit at any given time but when they were considering it, his ad was there to direct them to his shop – and it gave them confidence that his suits must be a good deal as he had been in business for so long and his ads appeared regularly.

There is another reason why regular advertising is to be valued. How often have we seen an ad for something and said to ourselves, “I must buy that”? But somehow, we don’t. Then you see the ad again and it reminds you that you really should make the effort to buy it – but something interrupts the process of remembering and you don’t.

After seeing the ad a few times, you may get annoyed with yourself that you haven’t bought an item or service you want – and finally you do. It’s that nagging feeling!

It is widely accepted among industry experts that a major benefit of advertising is the cumulative effect the message has on consumers. This effect occurs as consumers are repeatedly exposed to promotional messages which may not have an immediate impact but become familiar and remain in the memory.

This message will be recalled when the need arises for the goods or services which were advertised. The consumer, because of the cumulative effect of advertising, will already be familiar with the business's name, as well as the image that it has cultivated through its advertising campaigns.

Of course, if advertising is too frequent it can become an irritant, but this can be overcome by changing the copy, the design, or varying the offer or channels used.

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