Reach and frequency are terms
generally used when planning advertising campaigns. However, the concept of
reach and frequency applies to any promotional activity you undertake: direct
mail, direct selling, and even networking.
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. In a world of unlimited
resources you would obviously maximize both reach and frequency. However, since
most of us live in the world of limited resources we must often make decisions
to sacrifice reach for frequency or vice versa.
For example, an air conditioning repair service who has decided to do a direct
mail piece has to decide whether to mail the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
once or to mail a quarter of the Metroplex four times. An attorney who receives
many of her clients through networking may have to decide whether to attend one
weekly networking meeting or four different monthly meetings.
When faced with decisions of reach vs.
frequency remember this rule of thumb:
Reach without Frequency =
Marketing is the process of
building a business relationship with potential customers. Have you ever
established a lifelong friendship with someone you had contact with only once?
Probably not. Generally friendships (and all relationships for that matter)
grow as a result of frequent contact over time. Even when the potential to form
a great friendship is there at the first encounter, it is unlikely it will grow
Seth Godin in his
book Permission Marketing uses an analogy of seeds and water to
demonstrate the importance of assuring adequate frequency in your promotional
campaigns. If you were given 100 seeds with enough water to water each seed
once would you plant all 100 seeds and water each one once or would you be more
successful if you planted 25 seeds and used all of the water on those 25 seeds?
While intuitively and even conceptually we understand the importance of
frequency to successful promotional and sales campaigns, somehow when it comes
to actually implementing the campaign, we opt to sacrifice frequency for reach.
And then we complain about the ineffectiveness of our promotional efforts.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest wastes of marketing dollars is promotional
activities that are implemented without adequate frequency.
When faced with the decision of mailing one direct mail piece to 10,000 people
or mailing to 2,500 people four times think about the fate of those 100 seeds
you can water only once. Unless you have water rights and can obtain additional
water, opt for less reach and more frequency.
is president of Strategies-by-DESIGN, a Dallas based firm that helps small
businesses and service professionals
by providing consulting, training and skills based coaching in the area of
marketing strategy development. For more information or to sign up for our free
marketing tips e-newsletter go to
www.strategies-by-design.com or call
© 2003 Strategies-by-DESIGN. May be reprinted with credits
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