The concept of recency deals with the notion that the closer you market to the time of need, the better. There may be lots of exercise commercials on late night TV, but the ad in the newspaper in the doctor’s office after you have just been diagnosed as severely overweight and in immediate need of diet and exercise typically has greater impact.
Since we have already established that few people are in the market for your product or service at any given time, you need to reach the hottest prospects when they’re ready to buy. Go back to the washing machine, for example. If someone’s washing machine suddenly “dies,” chances are that a new washing machine will be purchased within 24 hours. Your prospect will be in and out of the market in a single day and will not return again for years.
For half of all merchandise purchased, the decision to buy and the actual purchase are made on the same day. For another quarter, the decision to shop and the actual purchase are made within days of one another. This means that each week brings a new crop of people shopping for any particular item. But it also means that these prospects are extremely perishable. During this “hot” period, awareness of your advertising is very keen – but only briefly. Shoppers shop, buy and then leave your market. It becomes obvious that marketers who advertise closest to the time of decision-making are more likely to catch the proverbial “fish.”