Repetition and frequency

In advertising, most media buyers are trying to find the holy grail of how much repetition/frequency you need to get your target audience to hear/understand and act on your message.  The other aspect is reach. Are you reaching the target audience through the channels you have chosen?

It occurs to me that some companies, namely the ones that have the MOST customer service issues (telecom companies, power companies and airlines) and some degree of monopoly, are the same ones that advertise the most aggressively.  In any given hour, you will see many spots for Comcast/Xfinity or for Verizon FIOS. I wrote here last year about the intense amount of direct mail FIOS sent me. These companies are hammering away repeating their message with a scary frequency.

Why? Because they have to. Nothing else is going to speak as loudly as lots of loud advertisements. Certainly not the customer experience or their “stellar” customer service.

A few months ago I had a appliance repair person come to the house. He was great: fixed what needed to be fixed, and charged a fair price. He does NO advertising. His business, which is doing well, is strictly word of mouth.

Can you imagine Comcast or Verizon having no advertising? On the other hand, you have few options when it comes to Internet, cable and phone providers. You will have to persuaded over and over and over.

I am suspicious about any company that feels the need to advertise ALL the time.  It seems to me that high repetition and frequency, which are expensive to maintain, are the only way they will  retain any top-of-mind share.

What do you think?