Some businesses initiate direct marketing campaigns with unrealistic goals. This inevitably leads to disappointment and wasted resources. Expecting a one-time marketing effort to yield great results is quite frankly counterproductive. The key to getting your return on investment and growing your business is consistency and commitment.

A first marketing response rate is predictably low… very low. A business must give its campaign time to grow. Numerous studies and proven statistics have proven that it takes a recipient being exposed to an offer 2 to 4 times before they’ll even notice it. It takes 5 to 7 times before they take any action on the offer. And these estimates are considered conservative by many experts.

In fact, a group of researchers at Harvard University performed a study on how many times a prospect must see a marketing message to take them from a state of total apathy to purchasing readiness. After a yearlong, intensive study, these researchers responded with a definitive answer: 9 times.

This doesn’t mean you should deluge your prospect with weekly or even more frequent marketing messages. However, you need to give your campaign time to mature. That is, you should make a 6-month time commitment at the bare minimum. Each month you can refine your offer or message, but maintain your branding integrity.

The bottom line is that direct marketing remains the most effective way to repeatedly expose your prospect to your business and positively influence his or her decision. One method is to repeatedly market the same promotion to the same audience. The basic premise for of this strategy is that people respond to the familiar. Many highly successful direct marketing organizations routinely employ a strategy of repeatedly marketing the same message to the same audience.

Just remember, in today’s media saturated society the average recipient is exposed to more than 1,000 sales, marketing, and advertising messages every day. The vast majority of these messages are ignored, and many others are forgotten within 2 weeks.

Of course, some companies still become discouraged after just three marketing efforts. Some even believe a single marketing effort should yield impressive results. The reality is that a creatively designed, personalized full color promtion will generate interest, but must be followed up with subsequent promotions to establish identity, credibility, and visibility. Now that you know the secret, you have a distinct advantage over competitors who give up prematurely on this valuable marketing tool.