How much of what you saw or heard yesterday do you remember?  Estimates vary, but the consensus tends to be that the average American is exposed to thousands of marketing messages each day, from TV commercials to billboards to slogans on fast-food drink cups.  And of those, you’re likely to remember just a couple – maybe a few if you really strain your memory.

For some reason, though, companies often believe that the audiences for their own marketing messages somehow remember each one in excruciating detail. So when given an opportunity to communicate again, they assume that only something fresh and new is appropriate.

In the first place, nobody is going to remember what you did yesterday, much less than last year. Since they last saw your message, they’ve been exposed thousands of others, some of which are bound to have been more compelling and memorable. A snippet of your message may be lurking at the subconscious level, but that’s more likely to be an impression of your company than a marketing tactic. They’ll remember “that seems like a friendly hardware store,” but not “that hardware store has a 20 percent off sale on wrenches.” And if you’ve left them with a positive impression, that’s okay.

That reality is the very reason that repetition and frequency are so important. If you don’t believe me, look at any multimillion-dollar advertiser. They run the same TV commercials again and again because they know seeing them just once probably won’t motivate you. In fact, a old rule of thumb says you’ll only notice an ad one time in three, and you have to notice it at least nine times before you’ll take an action. Do the math, and you’ll arrive at a need to run that ad 27 times – and that’s only when you’re watching!