Depending on whose numbers you believe, the average American is exposed to anywhere from 500 to 5,000 advertising messages per day. That’s anywhere from 30 to 300 different —and often conflicting—messages we’re processing every waking hour. Can you say information overload?
The good news is that not every message is for you. Although we’re each targets of countless marketing campaigns, different advertisements are directed toward different audiences.
When I was a high school student, I was slightly overwhelmed by the number of colleges that marketed me in an attempt to persuade me to enroll as a student. I would constantly receive phone calls and brochures from colleges and universities I had never heard of, much less considered attending.
As with any company that markets its products or services, each school presented itself differently to me, the audience. Some schools highlighted the friendly atmosphere provided by the student body and faculty. Other schools emphasized their rigorous academics and qualified professors. Others pointed out the many opportunities made possible by their fine facilities.
Naturally, I was drawn to the school that suited me as an individual. I was looking for rigorous academics, and I chose a university that offered that. The simple truth is that consumers generally know what they want. It’s the marketers’ job to convince consumers that they can fulfill those wants.
Simple, right? Well, I believe there is one overriding key to accomplishing this — consistency.
Here’s a real-life example: In 2010, Jackson Marketing Group (JMG) performed a Marketing Communication Audit for Greenville Technical College (GTC). Basically, that means that JMG did a lot of research on the college’s past advertising strategies and techniques in order to improve GTC’s current advertising.
At the end of the audit, one of the key recommendations was for GTC to be more consistent in the messages and advertising they were creating. Renewed consistency mainly affected the appearance of GTC’s advertisements, but the change ultimately improved the message of GTC as well.
Consistency creates a unified message, which makes a greater impact on the audience. Unfortunately, many advertisements seem to have missed the consistency memo, but that doesn’t mean we have to. The principle carries through to everyday life: we make an impact only when we are consistent—consistent in our goals, our time and our relationships.
Today as you’re bombarded by the thousands of inconsistent advertising messages around you, consider what kinds of messages you’re sending and evaluate your consistency because that’s what’s going to make the impact.