Do I Have to Say it 100 Times? The Importance of Repetition.

Do I Have to Say it 100 Times? The Importance of Repetition.
October 9, 2015 PROSAR

They say a young child needs to be exposed to a new food between 10 and 30 times to develop a taste for it. Ten to thirty times! And every parent of a toddler out there knows that Do’s and Don’ts – especially Don’ts – will be need to be repeated much more often than that before you have a hope of anything sinking in.

two toddlers using a tin can telephone

Image Credit: Alexander Shalamov / iStock / Thinkstock

“Don’t you dare throw that toy train! It’s not a ball! It’s too hard and heavy to throw!”

Again and again, until your patience is thinner than a Nano chip.  “Do I have to say it a hundred times?! No throwing toys!”

But eventually, somewhere around the two-hundred-and-first time – or maybe the three-hundred-and-first; it’s unpredictable, and that’s all part of the fun – something happens… Your toddler picks up the toy train and looks like he’s winding up for a little league worthy pitch. You say it again as he grips it, at the ready, and… he stops. He looks at you. He says: “Heavy! No throw!” And he puts the train down gently on the carpet.

Your prospects (hopefully) don’t behave like stubborn two-year-olds, but they still need a little – maybe more than a little – repetition thrown their way before a marketing message will sink in. Even a brilliantly clever message. It will almost certainly surprise you to see how many times you need broadcast your message in order to truly engage your audience. So borrow a page from the parenting handbook, and say it one, two, twenty, or maybe even a hundred times.

Now, I’m not advising you to be boring or annoying. You will need to mix it up a little. Not the core message – that should remain consistent and faithful to your key value proposition. Just the style or way of conveying the message, the visuals that accompany it, and the media and means used for delivering it. The same fundamental message and benefits can be conveyed and repeated through:

–          Blog posts

–          Social media

–          White papers and how-to guides

–          Articles in relevant trade publications

–          Ads (online and print)

–          Email marketing and drip campaigns

–          Direct mail

–          Trade show displays and promotional give-aways

–          PowerPoint presentations

–          And perhaps most importantly, the central hub of all your marketing efforts: your website

Be sure to adapt your central message to each format or media. Blog posts, ads, and trade show displays need to be brief an on-point, whereas articles, white papers, and even presentation give you room to elaborate on the benefits and value you offer.

It is also recommended to tailor your key message to each target audience. While the same essential message may be applicable to all of your audiences, they may have different priorities. Different benefits and relevant examples will resonate better than a generic message. But I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: a good message bears repeating. It truly is the best way to drive it home.

So if you feel like you’ve been repeating yourself endlessly and no one is listening, make sure you’re varying the elements mentioned above, and then hang in there.  Keep going. Because just when you’ve convinced yourself you must be talking to a wall, you might hear a surprising sound: Your phone ringing. Your email or Twitter notifications chiming. Your message being repeated back to you in the form of a question at a networking event. Break out your best, strongest, tailored version of your message and go answer that call. Your future success is waiting.

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