Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Selling Ad Frequency

“In today’s economy, advertisers are looking for ways to trim costs,” Vic said. “Frequency is one of the first places they look. No matter how many ads they have run within the past year–a hundred or a dozen–they are putting everything under the microscope.”

I was talking to Vic about the challenges of selling frequency. “In today’s economy, advertisers are looking for ways to trim costs,” he said. “Frequency is one of the first places they look. No matter how many ads they have run within the past year–a hundred or a dozen–they are putting everything under the microscope.”

Vic explained that his position as sales manager puts him on the front lines with his ad staff. “The thing I emphasize is that all of our newspaper’s clients are trying to justify frequency, whether they bring up the subject or not. This means that we’d better be prepared to address the issue.”

It all comes down to this: Why is it better to run more, not fewer, ads? And how can we show penny-pinching decision makers that the money they spend on more advertising will pay big dividends?

Here are two reasons to advertise as frequently as possible:

1. Daily market changes. “Years ago, I heard about Dan Gaynor’s  thin market concept, and that changed the way I see the role of advertising,” Vic said. “About half the time, a typical consumer makes the decision to shop and buy on the same day. At first that was hard to believe, but when I looked at my family’s buying habits, I realized that it’s true.

2. “What this means is that the market for any given product is small in the short term and large in the long term. In other words, if you’re advertising tires today, your message will be relevant primarily to those people who are thinking about tires today. If you want to reach the entire market for tires, you have to advertise all year. Otherwise, you’ll miss most of your prospects.”

Top-of-mind-awareness. “In addition,” Vic said, “businesses have to advertise consistently in order to break through the clutter in the marketplace.”

Vic is right. I used to quote research which showed that the average consumer is exposed to 2,000 selling messages every day. But in recent years, the numbers have climbed much higher; some estimates put the number closer to 5,000 commercial messages per day. No matter how you slice and dice the figures, that’s a lot. And all of those messages are competing for consumers’ attention.

How many commercial images are in your field of vision at this moment? Probably too many to count. Look around your office and you’ll see logos and slogans on pens, pencils, computer screens, mouse pads, coffee mugs, and the papers on your desk.

I may not be in the market to buy a new home today. But when I do enter the market, I will naturally think of companies that come to mind quickly. How do they become familiar? By keeping their names and their selling messages in front of me all year long. Familiarity creates top-of-mind-awareness.

Frequency is more than a word on a newspaper’s rate card. It’s a solid advertising strategy to generate more customers.