A Lot of a Little, or a Little of a Lot?

A Lot of a Little, or a Little of a Lot?

Marketing efforts are ultimately intended to build relationships with potential customers.

The question though, is how do you build those relationship? Since no business has an unlimited marketing budget, often the media decision has to be made to sacrifice reach for frequency or vice versa.

Should you attempt to reach as many people as the budget allows, knowing those people may only be exposed to the message once, or reach a smaller number of people many times? The answer, as with most things in life, is “it depends”.

When To Focus On Reach

Reach is the percentage of the target universe exposed to the advertising message at least once. There are many factors that can make focusing on reach an appropriate strategy. These are but a few:

  • When you have few competitors
  • You have a strong established brand or product
  • You are the brand leader in your category
  • The ad message is easily understood
  • The product is purchased infrequently

Generally, acceptable minimum levels of reach begin at 50%.

When To Focus On Frequency

Frequency is the average number of times that each person in the target universe is exposed to the advertising message. Not surprisingly, the factors supporting the case for emphasizing frequency are antithetical to those for reach.

  • You have many competitors
  • Your brand or product is new or not well established
  • The business has low brand awareness
  • The ad message is complex
  • The product is a frequent purchase

Generally, acceptable minimum levels of frequency begin at 3.

Typically, I find campaigns with limited budgets sacrifice frequency due to the more impressive sounding figures of reaching tens, or hundreds of thousands of people. Ultimately though, in most cases, frequency trumps reach in importance.

Among all the analogies made on this subject, the simplest one to me is the most effective, and logical:  Have you ever established a meaningful relationship with someone you had contact with only once? Most likely not. Relationships of all kinds, whether personal or business, grow as a result of frequent contact over time.

And after all, isn’t that ultimately what marketing is intended to do?

Stuart Lang

Adept at solving media puzzles, Stuart enjoys the constantly changing media landscape and exploring how to best utilize it to enhance our clients’ prospects while maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of their campaigns. More info