Infrequency and its Value

Infrequency – meaning things you do rarely, rather than do normally or at high volume. At least that’s my definition. Its one of the key ways to get attention. Ads firms are always trying to get our attention using infrequency techniques. They shock us, make us notice weird visuals, or amplify sounds to be pay attention.

Why does that work? Because its actually infrequent. Its not the norm. The more you think about this, the more you recognize its true. You likely pass dozens or hundreds of signs on a street – everything from street signs to billboards to posters – buts its the ones that are appear infrequent to YOU that likely get your attention.

When using attraction strategies to acquire or retain talent, this about using “infrequency” for key communications, not just “frequent” communications. As an example, if you have something important to say, I would question how you use of email when knowing that your intended audience gets 200 emails a day. Maybe infrequency in email is use the HIGH IMPORTANCE symbol and having it sent from their boss’s boss. That is a pretty infrequent communication, and will definitely get attention.

Here is another…recently we helped a customer design a recruiting strategy for a key hire. We recommended the use of two day priority mail. We had them target 30 people directly, and they used research and phone confirmation to make sure they had the addresses right. Then then sent provocative letters in a 2 day USPS priority envelope to each person, and hand wrote the envelopes. Each letter was personally signed. The cost was $200 for the mailing, and another $500 for the research. All in about $25 per person. Of course the appointment rate was really high.

Why? Because those people don’t get red envelopes in the mail. They don’t get priority mail every day. In fact, they most get EMAIL, which they ignore. If your mail carrier handed you personally a 2 day priority mail envelope, what would you do? Probably open it. Meanwhile, when they hand you a stack of mail, you tend to put it down for later. This is a PERFECT example of infrequency. The value was high because the results were high.

So next time you think about engaging people on any kind of change or idea – as yourself about the frequency of the medium, and if its as powerful as you need it to be for the purpose it carries.

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