One of my early and formative mentors once said, “It takes three to 19 repetitions of the exact same message before people hear it once.” Then she continued by saying, “It takes three to 19 repetitions of the exact same message before people hear it once.” And then she closed by saying, “It takes three to 19 repetitions of the exact same message before people hear it once.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, after she repeated that riveting speech on about five more occasions, those of us in the Marketing division finally got the message.
Over the years since then, I have had several clients (particularly those relatively new to branding) ask whether we shouldn't be adding a bit more variety into their marketing messages and into the look-and-feel of their creative. They noted that I had included their new value proposition on the homepage of their website. And then went into more detail about it on a “Why Us?” page on the site. And then repeated it again in the intro paragraph of the “Our Services” page of the site. And put it in the auto reply message people received after filling out the contact form on the site. And talked about it in the nurturing emails those same people received in response to their inquiries. And wrote newsletter stories that provided concrete examples of the value proposition in action. And gave those same examples to the sales team so they could talk about them with prospects. And posted the examples on social media. And put the value proposition up on the wall of the office lobby. And taught all employees how to describe it using everyday language when they're at networking events or just out with friends. And got organizational leaders quoted in the media as experts on closely-related topics.
And when they asked me whether it might be a bit too much, I said, "Are you kidding? I'm just getting started."
Studies estimate that each of us is exposed to more than 4,000 advertising messages every single day (some experts believe the number is as high as 10,000). So it's no surprise that breaking through the noise and making a memorable impression is extremely challenging. It requires not only a powerful message that will resonate with your prospects, but a message that has many, many chances to be heard.
Brands and the marketing professionals who assist them must continually remind themselves that—while they may be tired of seeing the same messages and design elements—their prospects are likely only just beginning to take notice. Until they've seen you wearing that “same outfit” about 19 times, they probably haven’t even noticed it. (Not that you weren't looking completely fabulous all along.)