Put Your Message on Repeat, not Shuffle

Repeat iconMost of us try to say too many things into our marketplace. It’s like an iPod on shuffle – too many songs, in random order.

People won’t remember the lyrics of any one song when they’ve just heard 30 of them.

After almost 30 years in business, I can tell you this: the vast majority of time, people have not processed and remembered your message. That’s why you need to practice repeat mode.

Here is why you want to put your message on repeat:

  1. The “white noise” (or static) of daily life puts up a wall of interference. We’d like to think that what we have to say is as important to others as it is to us. But if you monitor where your thoughts are going in any given hour, you realize that it’s really tough to break into anyone’s consciousness.
  2. Memory space in the mind of another is very limited. You may well only get one pixel worth of remembrance. If you are shuffling messages, you won’t “stick.”
  3. Repetition is the key to memory. Especially over time. Your 3rd grade teacher was right.

I used to be perplexed that people could be connected to me for so long, even receiving regular e-mails for years explaining what I do – and then, when I finally sit across the table and explain it face-to-face in simple terms; “Oh, you do THAT!?! Wow – I could really use your help!!” Arggh – what have I been saying all this time??? :>0

Now, I realize that that’s just normal. Life is very busy. Our brains are filled with noise. We listen without really hearing; we read without fully understanding. I do the same thing with others.

As obnoxious as repetitive advertising can be, there’s a well-researched reason for it. Repetition is how you get into someone else’s head.

But most of us don’t have a million dollar marketing budget. So how does the individual or small business gain vital real estate in the minds of customers? Here’s my advice:

1. Focus on a single message. Don’t try to be remembered for the 3 things you might do; focus on the ONE thing that most matters (your sweetest spot) to your key customers.

2. Incorporate that message, somehow, into multiple lines of communication. Your business card. Your e-mail footer. Your Twitter page and many of your tweets. Your newsletter. Your blog. Tell yourself, each day, that you will be a drip-by-drip educator; and don’t settle for less than owning one spot of mental real estate in a growing network of people.

3. Tell stories and put out case studies that reinforce your service and message. People relate to, and remember, stories better than they do statements.

4. Go for one measurable outcome – the ability of someone else to explain your identity/offering/work accurately to another. THAT’s when you know your message has sunk in, and you have become referral-ready.

Last week, I attended a networking function with a number of my pharmaceutical clients and partners. How gratifying it was to have three separate people introduce me to colleagues – then, when I turned to them and asked them to explain what I do, they all explained my role accurately! That came through years of honing and delivering a message, and providing a valuable service.

Shuffle-play is not the best way to get your song in the head of a customer. Tell. Show. Explain. Reinforce. Repeat your message. And never assume that people “get” it until they can explain you to others!


Also on the blog: How to Become Referral-Ready – I’ll Speak at Your Next Event!

Need Clarity in your professional life? Subscribe to the weekly Clarity Blend e-newsletter! See samples and joing our mailing list here.


  1. Good advice! Especially agree about the need for focus and repetition. It’s the only way to break through the “white noise” and make a lasting impression.

  2. I love this.
    Here’s the post I was reminded of while we spoke last night at Nashcocktail.
    Avoiding Attention Crash http://www.davemadethat.com/?p=7706

Speak Your Mind