Deborah Henken

Article Summary:

How can you boost your marketing messages?

Boost Your Marketing Message

It continues to amaze me that companies are willing to spend huge amounts on developing a product and then want to squeeze the marketing budget. Getting your message out is not the place to cut costs.

Why? We, as customers, are bombarded with marketing messages all the time, in all kinds of places, and the types of marketing just keep expanding. In the old days of the 80’s, where media choices focused on radio, TV, newspaper, magazine and billboards, it used to be that the advertising world used the metric of 3 -- an ad must run at least three times in each media choice to break through the clutter. Now, with increasing kinds of media -- email, banner ads, websites, cell phone and PDA messages, ads on buildings, ads on taxi cabs, ads on grocery carts and on and on -- the new metric is 7 impressions. A customer must see your message an average of 7 times for it to stand out from all the other messages they see each day. That’s right, 7 times. The first time or two, it may not be noticed. By the 4th, 5th , 6th or 7th time, the human brain starts realizing they’ve been seeing a lot about this product or company!

When companies decide they can get by with only one direct mailing with no follow-up or a one-time ad, they are not getting the most bang for the buck They are not ensuring they will rise above the noise and get their unique benefits noticed. People must see your message again and again, until it penetrates and makes your targets take the action you want -- generating leads and sales.

Are there some marketing communications that get attention in one fell swoop -- absolutely. The Apple ad in SuperBowl 1984, for instance, was only run once. These type communications are usually backed by big budgets, however--producing an ad and buying Super Bowl space is not exactly inexpensive. In this case, you may be able to get your message across in one time. However, the amount spent will more than equal what can be done with integrated marketing activities. On the other side of the spectrum are viral marketing activities -- but by the time you discover them, everyone else is using them too. Not that this is bad, just that they should be incorporated into the Once is Not Enough Plan.

What’s a businessperson to do? The good news is that you don’t have to just do one marketing activity 7 times -- there is a way to break through the clutter and stand out in a customer’s mind -- and that way is through integrated marketing -- using a variety of methods to gain awareness, move the prospect to interest and demand and then to a sale.

Action Steps To Take Now
1) Audit your current marketing efforts -- identify what activities you are doing

2) Review what you are doing -- are you doing one-shot activities or following through and consistently touching your target audience with your messages and benefits

3) If you are doing one-shot activities, determine what you can do to expand. If you did a one-time ad, identify places to run it again. If you did a direct mail, mail to the audience again with a new offer. Just because they don’t answer the first time, does not mean they are not interested. Remember, the average is 7 times to make an impact.

Deborah Henken served as VP of Marketing at several Silicon Valley start-ups, quadrupling revenues in 18 months, and in senior marketing and channel positions at Hewlett Packard, Informix and BEA Systems. As Founder of Highland Team, she and her team brings strategic marketing thinking and rapid implementation to assure increased sales revenues and optimal ROI to both large and small companies. For more information visit

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