Bicycling long distances is all about cadence, or that pace at which one can comfortably turn the pedals at even speed. It's different for every cyclist and, for people like me who inevitably lose fitness over the winter, it can take time to find that comfort level on the bike in the spring. For me, it's always difficult because when the Oklahoma spring finally does allow me to get back outside off the indoor trainer, I have to ride in windy, unpredictable conditions, and I'm usually carrying whatever weight I put on over the winter. Hence, rebuilding the stamina to maintain a 20 mph pace usually takes a couple hundred miles on the road. However, the upside to all that struggling is, one night, it just clicks. I look down and realize the strength to ride my normal cadence has returned and I feel like I've got an extra gear or two to get me over any hill or through any sprint.
Suprise! The same principle applies to advertising. Advertising to build a customer base, or to simply establish a brand, takes time. Just as any bicyclist can hop himself up for an incredible ride, an ad blitz to promote an incredible sale can get your register ringing. But it won't establish a brand or a customer base, especially in these tight economic times.
Instead, consider the Rule of Seven, which says that your message must have made an impression on a customer, be it print, TV, radio, banner ads, or even social media, at least seven times to get them to act on your ad. The Rule of Seven makes it very important to establish and maintain a budget and advertising plan. By planning your advertising, you eliminate the temptation to jump into the first sweet sounding ad concept that lands on your desk while at the same time maintain a steady cadence that will keep your message in front of your target audience throughout the year, not just just every now and again.
While that sounds simple, it's unrealistic to stop and say, "OK, I've advertised seven times, I'm good!" Why? Because you can't assume that everyone in your target audience is going to see those ads or be looking for your goods or services at a given time. That's where the importance of a steady, diversified 12-month ad plan comes to the fore again.
Just as in cycling, finding your advertising cadence won't happen overnight. Getting your company (and your advertising) on the fast track requires time and patience and, occasionally, a long ride into a head wind. But once you've put in the time with your advertising, and (using the Rule of Seven as a guideline) made enough impressions on your target audience, keeping the advertising wheels turning can put your business into high gear!
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