The impact marketing formula for getting noticed

Your business might be the best in the world, but if nobody has noticed you, it really doesn't matter. Bryony Thomas, founder of Watertight Marketing, talks through how to get your business to stand out.

Whilst I’m fairly sure that there is no such thing as a marketing magic wand, there is a bit of magic formula to getting noticed. It was drummed into me by Mark Mason, (then at Mason Zimbler) when I was a fresh-faced marketing novice.

Well over a decade later, I come back to it almost daily. It is the awareness equation, and it goes like this:

Impact X Frequency = Awareness

Think about it for a moment. Think about stuff that you know… how did you come to know it?

Think about something life-changing. When you were first told about it, your stomach flipped and your heart pounded… how many times did you need to be told to remember? I’m betting it was just the once. That’s impact.

Now think about something you know that was a bit dull. Like your times tables. How many times did you have to repeat them to remember them? Tens? Hundreds? It’s a lot more than once, that’s for sure! That’s frequency.

Now, bring these together to think about your marketing. Most products and services aren’t exactly earth shattering. So, you’ll need to up the impact to get noticed. Then, up the frequency to get remembered. It’s not either/or. It’s both. If you have something really impactful, but it’s only briefly glimpsed, it’s unlikely to be remembered. And, if you have something dull – even if you go on about it ad nauseam, it will usually still go unnoticed.

So, how do you up both your Impact and your frequency to increase the chances of being well known for what you do?

Five ways to increase the impact of your marketing

  • Trigger an emotional response

An emotional response is something that happens to us. It is not consciously done. So, if you’re able to trigger an emotion in someone, they cannot help but notice you. You can do this by pin-pointing a real issue they’re having, asking a searching questions, making them laugh, cry, etc. Marketing that does this almost always gets noticed more than stuff that highlights a deeply logical message.

  • ​Use arresting imagery

Evolution doesn’t move very quickly. So, bright colours, big eyes, beautiful people, and other visual techniques can grab your attention in seconds. Building this into your marketing materials is definitely worth the effort.

  • Talk about them, not you

You know that friend who always talks about himself? Dull, dull, dull. Take a moment to look at your marketing. If you use the work ‘we’ more than the word ‘you’ – you’re the business equivalent of that dull friend. Instead, emulate that amazing person who always asks about you, and remembers the important stuff about you. 

  • Arouse their curiosity

Go with me on this one. Why is lingerie so alluring? It’s not because guys love silk and lace, it’s much more about the power of curiosity. If you give everything away up front, there’s nothing left to find out. Look at headlines and one-liners that leave a little to the imagination and you’ll draw more people into conversation. 

  • Do something unexpected

When you come to expect one thing, but get something else, you’re surprised. It stops you in your tracks for a moment. What could you do that’s a little unexpected? Maybe you could say the un-sayable, or take a controversial position on something. It will certainly get you noticed.

More on marketing for business:

Five ways to increase the frequency of your marketing

  • Research the way your buyers organise their lives

Taking some time to research when your buyers go online, or read emails, etc. can mean that you don’t need to actually be more frequent in your communications, you will just seem more frequent by showing up when they are actually looking. 

  • Re-purpose your content in different formats

So, you’ve written a great blog post, how about turning it into a slide-deck and popping it on Slideshare? Or, recording it as a podcast? Or, using it as the starting point for a discussion in a LinkedIn group? Or, offering it as a talk topic at a local networking event? Or… Honestly, there are hundreds of ways to re-use great content. And, in doing so you show up more frequently, and reach people in formats they are most likely to enjoy.

  • Hook onto dates and times when you know they’re looking

Did you send your clients a valentine’s card? No. Why not? Looking at diary dates, like this, or more business-focussed ones like year-end, gives you a great reason to get in touch at a time you know they are looking. With a little imagination you can use these sorts of events as a great angle for some useful (read: impactful) content.

  • Get others to share your stuff

We’ve all heard about the power of going viral. You know, your followers pass stuff on to their followers, and they pass it on to theirs, etc. But, how do you get stuff shared? Well, making it easy is a good place to start. Make sure the click-to-share buttons are obvious and easy to use. Then, think up topics that get well shared… things I’ve seen travel well include: tips, questions, lists, debates, and controversy. 

  • Stick to a baseline of activity

This is the biggie for me. Getting noticed is often about being there when someone happens to look. Which is often when they have a need. This means that they become hyper aware of the topic at hand. It’s called selective attention. You know when you learn a new word and suddenly hear it everywhere? It was always there; you’ve just noticed it. What this means for your marketing is that you need to commit to a baseline level of activity that goes about at regular set intervals… like a lighthouse… so that when someone becomes selectively aware of the sort of stuff you sell, hey presto – there you are.

So, if you’re onto something great, but frustrated that the world doesn’t seem to have noticed yet… take a look at the awareness equation, it might be just the formula for success that you’re looking for.

See also: How offline and online marketing can work together

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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