A Watertight Equation for Raising Awareness

By guest contributor, Bryony Thomas, founder of Watertight Marketing.

The two critical ingredients for generating a steady flow of leads for your business.

“We need more leads,” is a familiar cry from business owners the length and breadth of the country. Having a steady flow of people interested in what you sell is essential for a growing business.

Are you on the Yo-Yo diet?

The solution people often go for is a quick burst of sales activity, like hitting the phones, or a big bang marketing campaign, like direct mail or an increase in advertising spend.

This can certainly do the trick…in the short term. But, then the effect wears off.

You find yourself digging deep, yet again, to generate the next batch of leads. You’re on the sales and marketing equivalent of a Yo-Yo diet. It’s deeply inefficient, and exhausting.

yo-yo-dietFor more sustainable, and predictable, results – you’ll need to move to more sustained, predictable, sales and marketing.  Click here and watch a short video I made to illustrate it.

If you’ve made the move to a more sustained effort, but you’re still not seeing the results you’re after. It’s either that you’re no good at converting the interest you generate, or you’re simply not attracting enough of the right sort of people in the first place. If it’s the latter, then you’re almost certainly missing one of these two critical ingredients.

Is there a missing ingredient?

Now, I’m often found telling businesses that they’ll never find a marketing silver bullet, or a magic formula to sales success. But, there’s one exception, and that’s The Awareness Equation. Applying it to your marketing is extremely powerful. It is the secret to getting your business noticed.

Mark Mason, then Managing Director of advertising agency, Mason Zimbler, drummed this into me as a naive 22 year-old… and I come back to it almost daily. It’s something you’ve understood since you were a small child. But, let me remind you.


If I told you something that fundamentally changed your world. Something that took the breath from your lungs and made your heart beat out of your chest – I’m willing to bet that I would only need to tell you once. This is impact.

However, when you were learning your times tables at school, repetition was key. This is frequency.

Do you make an impact?

High impact, in a sales and marketing setting, is about triggering an emotional response. You do this by appealing to someone’s instinct or intellect in a way that means they cannot ignore you.

For example, an intriguing and visually stimulating creative idea, or a hitting a nerve by highlighting a problem or frustration they’re having.

A creative example that most people can remember, even though it’s a campaign that ran nearly a decade ago, is the Sony Bravia ad with bouncing coloured balls rolling down a San Francisco street to the haunting sounds of José González. The fact that you still remember this demonstrates my point brilliantly. Do you think any of your prospects will recall any of your materials in nine years time?

The key point here is that by triggering an emotional response, lower frequency is sufficient to get noticed.

Are you showing up regularly enough?

Low impact can be countered with high frequency. This is a technique often (but not always) used in commodity markets.

I can’t imagine anyone in the UK not knowing the ‘Go Compare’ jingle. And, that’s not because it’s a truly earth-shattering piece of music. They’ve upped the impact with irritation – but the recall they’ve secured is mainly because it has been played in nearly every commercial break on every TV channel for about the last five years. I call this attrition marketing; it wears you down.

Even if you don’t have the budget for buying every ad slot going, there’s something to learn here. It’s about showing up regularly. Being like a lighthouse, so that your prospects have every chance of seeing you… because you’re always there. For a local business, this might mean buying the same classified ad slot in the local paper all year. This is much more effective than buying a full page once.

It’s not either/or – you need both

This really is an equation. If either element is a zero, you’ll generate zero awareness, and zero leads.

You need to master this equation if you’re going to be remembered.

Most small businesses don’t have the cash for the sort of creative concepts that stop you in your tracks; or the buying power to bag every ad slot going. So, you’ll almost certainly need to go for medium impact and medium frequency.

So, if your subject is a little dry – you’ll need to up the frequency or work really hard on crafting a message and materials that hit the right emotional note. Ideally, a bit of both!

Hear Bryony speak at our Business Blast event on 25th February – book tickets here.


Bryony-ThomasBryony Thomas is the award-winning creator of the Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her No. 1 best-selling book, and delivered through the Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant network.

About the Author Company Shortcuts

Company Shortcuts works with a team of outstanding Sales Accelerators to deliver consultancy and training, who also guest blog for us on topics of interest to sales leaders.