Guide to Advertising: Customer Behavior

The following guide to advertising was written by Thomas Smith in 1885, and with today’s short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, I believe it’s even more relevant today. In the coming year I’ll be referencing this guide a lot, so I thought I would give it its own space at Marketing Creativity.

  • 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 eight 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.

Does this change the way you look at your approach to advertising?

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