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How Many Ads Must I Run? by Pat Bryson

    • 1410 posts
    September 11, 2020 4:18 PM PDT

    How Many Ads Must I Run?

    It's the Age-Old Question

    by Pat Bryson


    "How many ads must I run? How many week/months must my advertising schedule continue?"

    We bump up against these questions on a daily basis. Especially now, as our clients are thinking more short-term and are concentrating on budgets, being able to answer these questions is paramount. We want to create campaigns for our clients that will produce results, that will help them to regain and increase revenue.

    We should not be concerned about budgets. (Really?) We should be concerned about schedules. We should SELL SCHEDULES NOT BUDGETS. Our clients rarely understand how to use radio effectively. They have no idea what they SHOULD invest with us. Or, they have a wrong idea because we've allowed them to spend too little in the past. We are often too timid to ask for the investment required to fuel an effective campaign.

    This is not a new discussion. In 1885, Thomas Smith wrote a guide called "Successful Advertising in 1885". His ideas still have relevance today, especially in the crowded marketplace in which our clients operate. He referred to print media, the dominate vehicle in that age. Maybe it's a little outdated, but you will get the message: Repetition sells!

    Here's what he had to say:

    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 it is offering.

    The recipe for successful radio advertising is 1. enough repetition weekly to reach a minimum exposure threshold of three, 2. long enough (at least 52 weeks) and 3. a relevant message. When all of the elements are in place, radio campaigns will move our clients forward. Our goal: To hear, "My radio advertising is working great!"


    Pat Bryson is the founder of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with radio stations around the world to increase revenue by raising the skill level of their sales staffs. Her client list spans from the United States to Canada, Europe, Central Asia and Australia. She has been named one of Radio Ink’s Most Influential Women in Radio for 2018 and 2019.

    Pat publishes the Bryson Broadcasting International Newsletter twice monthly and is the author of A Road Map To Success In High-Dollar Broadcast Sales.

    You may contact Pat at or visit her website at
    This post was edited by Rebecca Hunt at September 11, 2020 4:19 PM PDT

    • 107 posts
    September 18, 2020 6:34 AM PDT

    Great article. I agree that business owners have no clue and many times those that think they do usually need just as much help arriving at a schedule that will deliver what they want.

    I get stuck with budgets and trying to be creative in getting what they want (or most of it) for what they can afford. I always strive for schedule first over budget and about 50% of the time I can pull it off. When they have me shave dollars, I tell them only if they go long term and expect results they want over time. 

    I see my job as assuring the next sale by making sure the frequency is ample enough to pull the odds in my favor. I see a lack of desired results as the path to a business that does not believe in radio. We must have a growing number of radio believers.

    Much of my selling is educating business owners. I'm a big fan of putting their voice on the spot somewhere. People hate to cancel themselves and when the client's friends hear the spot, they tell the client meaning instant results in the client's mind.