Patience…(and Test!)

Craig Valine
3 min readFeb 1, 2021

Today, let’s take a reality check to determine how clearly you understand what your prospects are thinking each time they listen to your marketing message or look at your advertisement.

For instance: The owner of a local small business takes a leap of faith and contracts to run a weekly ad in the local newspaper with a frequency of once a week for a full year. After five weeks, the results displease him so much that he cancels his contract.

Five ads in five weeks seems like a lot of frequency in marketing. Five exposures do, indeed, establish some momentum. But they don’t even come close to create enough desire to motivate a sale for the average person.

To truly comprehend how much frequency is enough to spark that sale, you’ve got to know just what your prospects think from each exposure. Here is exactly what each one thinks as he or she looks at the ad you’ve run:

  1. The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
  2. The second time, he does not notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
  5. The fifth time, he reads it.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
  8. The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13. The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
  14. The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
  17. The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
  18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

The list you’ve just read was written by Thomas Smith of London in l885.

So how much of that list is valid right now, today?

The answer is all of it…for most of your market

HOWEVER, great marketers know that the single most important element of superb direct response marketing is to TEST.

If we’ve done our research and we know that our ideal prospect (Right Market) is where we are advertising (Right Media), all we have to make certain of — through testing — is to make sure we have an offer that is “magnetic” to our ideal prospect (Right Message). Once we have a winner, we keep testing to “beat the control” — that is, see if we can beat the winner with a new, better offer.

Important to note:

  • A VERY small percentage of your market is ever ready to buy right now at the moment of your advertisement.
  • A slightly larger percentage of your market will buy sometime in the future.
  • And, a larger percentage may never buy.

Life is a moving parade. This is why it’s critical to have a lead-generation system in place to capture the information of an interested prospect and build-upon that relationship UNTIL they are ready to buy (or they say ‘stop’).



Craig Valine

Los Angeles Area Marketing Performance Strategist, Investor, Coach |