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Attention All Attention-Seekers!

Attention All Attention-Seekers!

By Ellen Fruchtman, President Acquisition is the lifeblood of any retail business. To be honest, it’s probably the lifeblood of most businesses. The way we do this is through advertising, word-of-mouth, and the most important of all, referral. Today, acquisition through advertising may be the most difficult of all. Why? The proliferation of messaging is staggering. Just how many advertising messages do you actually see in one day? According to several sources including Forbes, in 2022, the average American saw 4,000 - 10,000 ads daily. Think about it. How many of you check your social channels first thing in the morning? How many ads do you see while scrolling through Instagram and Facebook? You pass billboards on a normal commute. If your radio happens to be playing in the car, well, that’s well over 50 ads. And, if you take any sort of public transportation, those vehicles and stations are filled with advertisements. If you are walking in a downtown area on the way to work, you’re exposed to any number of window signage. And, this is just your morning! The difference, however, between what you’re exposed to and actually notice, is quite different. According to Red Crow Marketing, you may be exposed to 4,000 - 10,000 messages per day, but you actually notice less than 100 per day. I would be hard-pressed to actually tell you how many ads I saw yesterday. If your main goal is to drive new people and interest to your store (and I’m sure it is), just think about how difficult this may be. When you ask customers how they heard about you - or better yet, listen to them telling you they actually “never heard of you”, think about the amount of ads you can actually recall. Your brain actually screens out most ads. It’s protecting you from information overload. And, in this day and age, information overload is an understatement! When I did a little research as to the amount of ads we were seeing on average in the 1970’s, that number was quite a bit different. In my most impressionable years (yes, I’m dating myself), I was exposed to 500 - 1600 ads per day. Yes, there were billboards (maybe not as many). But, the consumption of media was mostly broadcast (TV and Radio) and print (newspaper and magazines). In broadcast, there were limited commercial breaks (far fewer than there are today. In newspapers and magazines, you also had limited space. Thank you, Internet. With a proliferation of social content, display ads, Google ads, YouTube ads, not to mention the endless amount of broadcast channels and streaming…well, you can understand how difficult (and complex) it is to not only find your customer, but to ensure they retain that message. So what’s a marketer and retailer to do?
  • Make sure your creative is impactful. Yes, it’s tough to break through the clutter, but if it’s really good, it will surely be retained. We all remember certain memorable and impactful advertising campaigns. Try to name at least 3. I bet those were not something you saw yesterday.
  • Make sure it is placed and targeted to your prospective customer. You have to have a clear understanding of the numbers. This is not simply about what you watch or see. It’s about where and what your customer is viewing.
  • Remember it is all about the reach and frequency.You do have to view or hear an ad a certain number of times to have any sort of recall.
  • Stop hopping around. Select a strategy and stick with it.
  • Remember, you really start retaining ads when you are in the market for a specific product or service. If I’m 15 years of age, chances are I’m not retaining or interested in your ad. If I’m 28, with a serious boyfriend or girlfriend who I know I want to marry soon, I’m much more likely to “see” your ad.
  • And, last but not least, don’t rely on customer input as to how they heard of you. Nine times out of ten, they really do not know. It is unreliable. And, certainly not scientific. I know you can’t help yourself and will ask. But, what I am telling you is that you simply can’t take it as gospel.
Why? Because they just got through seeing 4,000 to 10,000 ads yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. It's the attention we are all seeking. It’s just not as easy as it once was. Did we get your attention? If so, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at
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