2 minute read

In it for the long-haul: why short-term marketing doesn’t work

Building a brand takes dedication. As well as a great product or service, you need to invest time and resources into spreading your message. There is no quick fix - success relies on a sustained approach. Short-term marketing initiatives are quite frankly, pointless.

Of course, there is a place for dedicated campaigns to promote a time sensitive event or initiative, but this should be contextualised within a programme of ongoing communications. You wouldn’t expect to get fit by visiting the gym once – however hard you pushed yourself during your single visit – so why should the results of PR and communications be any different?

130-year-old theory

The fact is that even if your communications hit your target first time around – they won’t necessarily be absorbed. Research proves messages are more memorable - and effective - when they are repeated. Think of Nike’s ‘Just do it’ or the Rice Krispies tagline, ‘Snap, crackle, pop’.

This isn’t a new or radical theory. Published way back in 1885, Thomas Smith’s landmark book Successful Advertising suggests that it is only after seeing a message for the fourth time that an individual will have a fleeting sense that they have seen it before - and it is only after viewing the same message for a twelfth time that they begin to sit up and take notice.

Today, marketers and PR professionals generally subscribe to the ‘The Rule of Seven’, that is the idea that people need to see your marketing message seven times before they take action.

Short-term marketing messages get lost in the noise

Regardless of whether we’re talking about PR or advertising, the way audiences process, store and engage with marketing messages is changing. We are becoming more sceptical of one-dimensional, heavily contrived and controlled proclamations of how fantastic something is, preferring instead to make judgements based on information collected from various sources across myriad touchpoints.

According to research from specialist marketing publication, Demand Gen Report, 47 per cent of B2B buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a brand and 96 per cent would like to see content with more input from industry thought leaders – that’s you.

There’s no point splashing the cash on a flashy event and a double page advertorial one month only to disappear from your audience’s consciousness the next. You’d be better off taking the time to engage consistently across a variety of platforms – sharing your insight and expertise – so that a positive perception of your brand identity is never far from the front of the minds of your targets.

Marketing is a marathon not a sprint – and by drip-feeding communications little and often you’ll reap the benefits long-term.


CarlyAuthor: Carly Smith

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