Patience is a Virtue in Marketing

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By: Shea Posey, Senior Account Executive, and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

We’ve all heard many times throughout our lives that patience is a virtue. Although the proverb is often recited, it’s rarely adhered to. Humans are impatient by nature and with more things readily available for immediate consumption, that impatience only seems to be growing.

As discussed in the What You See Is NOT All There Is CMO Minute, the desire for immediate results often rears its ugly head in marketing too. But what role does patience play when it comes to the length of time in which campaign effects can be seen?

According to a study by Thinkbox from Ebiquity and Gain Theory, the majority (58%) of advertising returns occur in the long term, which is considered over six months. That means that less than half (42%) of the total commercial impact happens in the short term (up to six months), with only 18% of that in the immediate short term.

This may come as a surprise, given the fact that marketers and people, in general, tend to be primarily focused on the near term. But, according to the data, the effects of a campaign can be seen sustaining between six and nine months after the campaign ends, depending on the type of campaign and its success. From a psychological standpoint, this makes perfect sense. The six- to nine-month post-campaign effectiveness window isn’t because that’s when people’s memories start to fade, but because other messages in the marketplace start to take over and overwrite those memories. This doesn’t mean that the campaign is no longer effective, just that there is a point when the effect starts to wane.

What this tells us is that we’re probably over-investing in near-term performance marketing and under-investing in long-term brand awareness and affinity marketing. Now, this doesn’t mean that short-term marketing is ineffective, just that the long-term effect of advertising is nearly two times greater than the short-term effect.

The Bottom Line

By hyper-focusing on the short term, marketers mount a real risk to marketing effectiveness and long-term profitability. Ideally, marketers should be building up memory structures through long-term branding efforts that consumers can connect to later when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. Strong brand-building is the rising tide that lifts all boats. Companies that focus on the long term not only see a much larger profit margin overall but in the short term as well. Only by looking at marketing through a long-term lens can we truly understand the full impact of our advertising investments.

To discuss how we can help you turn psychological insights into great creative advertising, give us a call at 833-579-1905 or email us at [email protected].