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THE GOLDEN FORMULA

Ask fictional Don Draper of Mad Men fame what it takes to inform consumers and ultimately move them to action and he’d instantly spout the golden formula of advertising: Reach + Frequency.


This marketing truism has been captivating customers since the days of Henry Ford and has carried its weight through every technology advance, product launch and celebrity endorsement over the last 100 years.


Decoding this recipe, Reach refers to accessing the right audience with the right message at the right time. This is how most people think of marketing. But equally important is Frequency. If you saw the classic "Teach the World to Sing" ad from Coca-Cola – featured in the final episode of Mad Men – only once, it might make you smile but you'd never remember the words 40 years later. The indelible message became part of our collective psyche due to its frequency.


Frequency transcends the field of advertising. Frequency of message elects presidents, drives social change and turns pop stars into near-deities. It's also a critical – though often overlooked – factor in selling products at retail. Every display, every package, every graphic in a store is effectively a billboard that delivers impressions on shoppers with frequency as they cruise the aisles. It’s one of the reasons that stores work so well in uniting products with shoppers.


Don Draper knew that at-retail marketing is all about Reach & Frequency. And that’s no fiction.