Relentless and Boring.


There’s an old marketing adage — okay, I just made it up – “The more times you say something the more consumers believe it.”  Hell, the more marketers themselves believes it.  Advertising agents take this notion and create campaigns around it.  Some campaigns last a long time (I can still sing the Good and Plenty song from my childhood), but most don’t.  Rote repetition in advertising is bad – it burns out.  That’s why, to coin a phrase, campaigns come and go.

There is a change management theory, espoused by the godfather of GE Jack Welch, suggesting change is best affected by making communications “relentless and boring.”  You can’t argue with Mr. Welch’s success so let’s say that one’s sacrosanct. It seems that many marketers and their agents also fall into this trap.  I understand relentless but when selling it has a negative connotation. Geico is relentless. There is clearly such a thing as too much selling. Advertisers need to be relentlessly on message, about that I would agree, but not baseball bat relentless with the pound, pound, pound of same ad frequency.  It’s boring. And off-putting. 

As for boring, there is never a place for it in marketing and certainly not in advertising.  Relentless creates boring…and boring creates boring. Two strikes.  

So here’s a guiding principle for marketers and agents. Find a brand strategy (a claim and supports), live it, message it, listen to it with your own ears, and enliven it — daily. Touch consumers with meted frequency, especially when they’re most willing, refresh those touches continuously, and do so without being boring. Easily typed, harder deployed.  That’s why they call it work. Peace!