Primacy and Recency Effect

There is a bit more to this effect that is important in certain settings and applications. Frequency. Wikipedia does a good job of describing this in the article “The Serial Position Effect” which essentially details the specifics and I won’t bore you with them here.

When we consider things like social media, sales, business growth, relationships, etc. there is also another factor that is really important. This factor is the Effective Frequency which is an advertising term but its a human element none-the-less. Take a look at what Thomas Smith writes in his guide Successful Advertising about the human perception of advertising

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

This consideration is the predominant reason why we need to over communicate about us, our product or service – likely far more than we are typically comfortable with. (I bet you can make a similar and probably entertaining list for spousal communication as well as delivering a message to a teenager from a parent.) Note that this was written in 1885 when society was a small fraction as noisy as it is today.


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