Frequency Risks In Marketing – Can You Lose By Having Too Much?

Hopefully, you’ve come out of Valentine’s Day relatively unscathed and ready to get back to the mundane cycle of living.  Valentine’s Day has always been a peculiar holiday to me when it comes to anyone who is married or in a serious relationship as we would like to think that we show love every day.  If that’s the case, why would we need to buy flowers or some other cheesy thing to profane our love today when we could do it every day? I imagine that if we did express our love at the same heightened level every day, we wouldn’t be able to handle it.  The constant love would probably diminish its strength overall as we wouldn’t appreciate it as much.  Oddly, that idea came to me as I was viewing the Google Doodle yesterday.  It used to be really special when Google would replace their logo for a special event.  Now, they do it so frequently that it has become ho-hum.

From what seems to be their first Doodle from before the Beta logo – commemorating the Burning Man Festival in 1998 – to this month’s already reached 8 Doodles, there’s a marked difference in frequency.  When you would just see one occasionally, that was special.  They were buzzed about and liked, which seems to have brought new meaning to it.  I remember seeing a feature on CBS Sunday Morning about the decisions and secrecy surrounding when and what would be created by their “elite” team of Doodlers.  They proudly stated that it was their choice and they were beholden to no one. 

We could be assured of seeing something special for holidays and major events, then.  But now, you can take a look at the Google Doodle galleries and see the most random commemorations.  For instance, I was able to find that Ito Jakuchu shares my birthday – though I have no idea who he was.  Perhaps the Doodles are now looked at as an opportunity for education and the conveyance of fun art, but has that frequency negated its power?

I’ve recently been asking myself if its worthwhile to continue writing the blog every day.  At this point, I’m challenged by the fact that it has become a personal goal to complete at least a year of daily entries.  My concern is that it is becoming more about the quantity than the quality.  I would like to think that every one of these posts is worthwhile, but I’m sure some are better than others.  Even if they were all phenomenal and insightful entries, the fact that they come out every day would make them less special.  Wouldn’t it?

If you look at your personal email account and all the subscriptions, do the more frequent mailings get overlooked in favor of the less frequent ones?  Is there a sense of excitement or exclusivity when coming across Travelzoo’s Top 20 that you no longer feel about Daily Candy, Groupon or Thrillist?

While Google did a nice job with their Valentine’s Day card this year:

The frequency of Google Doodles has made them a little les compelling.  It certainly seems to diminish their stated aim –  “The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love of innovation.”  The very spirit of innovation is lost when there is so much repetition.

Frequency is important in all forms of messaging and communication.  Much like the parent telling their children to do something a million times, the effect was probably lost after the third time.  You can tell someone you love them 100 times and it probably has a lesser connotation than if you told them 10 times over the same period.  Of course, when considered in marketing, there is a fine line between too little and too much – especially as campaign flights get tightened with much more competition out there.  The reality is, that sometimes, too much can lead to diminishing returns.  Just as in relationships, no matter how much you want to profane your love, you can lose by having too much.


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