No one learns how to connect a bat with the ball on the first try, just as marketing can be a series of swings and misses. These skills are refined over time through repetitive action. Some tweaks in the motion may be made along the way, but once you find your groove, repetition is the key to maintaining excellence. Not only that, but repetition is essential in generating top of mind awareness.
Thomas Smith, a London businessman, wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885. The sayings he used are still being used today and form the foundation for the Theory of Frequency in advertising and marketing, which has essentially become the authoritative guide for generating Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA).
How to develop top of mind awareness
It takes a minimum of 20 impressions to develop top of mind awareness (and to generate a sale). Why? According to Mr. Smith:
- The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it
- The second time, they don’t notice it
- The third time, they are aware that it is there
- The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before
- The fifth time, they actually read the ad
- The sixth time they thumb their nose at it
- The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it
- The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again”
- The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something
- The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it
- The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads
- The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product
- The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value
- The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time
- The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it
- The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future
- The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product
- The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product
- The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully
- The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering
Impressions are one thing; making those impressions count is another thing entirely. Anyone can send 20 messages. How is your messaging different than others? What makes your messaging better? Why should prospects pay attention to your messaging? When will you see a return on your messaging efforts? How do you provoke contact (i.e., get them to call you)?
To stay in the game, you need consistently remind contacts of your value. The best way to really hit home with your contacts is to provide repetitive (but not redundant) communications that showcase your firm as a valuable resource, but more importantly, demonstrate that you are a group of smart, interesting, real people available to provide a service.
“A baseball swing is a very finely tuned instrument. It is repetition, and more repetition, then a little more after that.”
Staying top of mind
Top of mind awareness cannot be developed overnight. It takes a series of consistent, relevant, unassuming, informative, educational, entertaining and human communications to build relationships.
Get to know – really know – your prospects and clients.
The more pertinent and targeted your messaging is to each of your recipients, the more value you present, which translates into higher return (and awareness).
Remember to reveal the human side of your organization and your key team members.
Shift the perspective of your communications from selling services to communicating a human experience.
People relate to people.
Your contacts will think of you first when you have created an emotional tie through your sincere messages, especially when your messages arrive in a variety of formats, but all relate back to you and your firm, and are specifically geared to the recipients.