Relevance + Recency + Frequency = Resonance

Marketing is all about psychology.  It’s about culture.  It’s about audience.  These are simple facts, but the other fact is that technology is substantially changing the psychology and culture of the audience.

The Internet has had an enormous impact on the audience we speak to as marketers, which has made them more difficult to affect. However, when there is an impact, it’s easier to see its results. That has resulted in a culture with a higher barrier of entry -- but once you get over the barrier, consumers more malleable than ever.

My hypothesis is based on the fact that the pathways for education have changed.  If you go back 20 years, when you asked someone a question, they either knew the answer, or they didn’t.  If they knew it, it was because they’d read it or learned about the topic previously.  If they didn’t know the answer, they make a decision to go learn about it or to have someone teach them about it.   



Fast-forward to today. If you ask someone a question and they don’t already know the answer, then they whip out their phone and Google a response in 60 seconds or less.  The path to drive learning is shorter, and it requires less anticipatory knowledge about a topic when people understand that every answer is less than three clicks, or 60 seconds, away. 

This immediate gratification is coupled with the fact that the average person spends approximately 12 hours per day consuming information, which consists of more than 100,000 words and 34 GB of data (according to Time magazine).   There are around 3,000 marketing messages thrown at a consumer every day.  The level of clutter is high, and this is coupled with the self-selecting data that a consumer is searching for throughout the course of an average day.  That means for a marketing message to resonate with consumers and for them to take action, it has to score high on the relevance and immediacy quotient.  It also has to be frequent, which brings us back to the age-old model of reach and frequency.  It’s simple mathematics that relevance + recency + frequency = resonance for a marketing message.

We’ve created a culture of virality, in which a message that is resonant can be shared among consumer-to-consumer groups.  This virality drives additional reach and resonance, because it feeds the other elements of frequency and recency.  That creates a circular situation, driving interest and consumer engagement.  The psychology of the audience is such that if you can get over the barrier of entry and gain access to the mind of the mob, then the mob takes over and shares the message quickly. 

What this means is that marketers should be spending their time strategizing about how to achieve relevance through creative, and recency and frequency through media.  The purpose of that forethought is to make the best use of an audiences’s eyeballs when you have them, and increase the likelihood of consumer engagement.  If you don’t think of these elements in combination, and if you don’t enable the sharing of the message for the supposed eventual activation of audience, then you aren’t setting yourself up for success.

Are you using this formula for success?  Let us know on the Spin Board!

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