{Email} Marketing Sidebar: Frequency vs Cadence – Part One

I often find myself discussing frequency and cadence, and, unfortunately, I often feel like it’s a tough concept for some to fully understand – especially when discussed in relation to email marketing, which, to some, is a form of black magic.

So, I thought it’d be a good idea to drop a two-part bit on frequency and cadence. Part One, here, we’ll discuss definitions, and define how they work together.



noun, plural fre·quen·cies.

  • Also fre·quence. the state or fact of being frequent; frequent occurrence: We are alarmed by the frequency of fires in the neighborhood.
  • rate of occurrence: The doctor has increased the frequency of his visits.
  • Physics.
    • the number of periods or regularly occurring events of any given kind in unit of time, usually in one second.
    • the number of cycles or completed alternations per unit time of a wave or oscillation. Symbol: F; Abbreviation: freq.




noun Also cadency.

  • rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words: the cadence of language.
  • (in free verse) a rhythmic pattern that is nonmetrically structured.
  • the beat, rate, or measure of any rhythmic movement: The chorus line danced in rapid cadence.



Frequency, Cadence, and Cycling



So, how do they work together? I first understood the concept of cadence when I was in high school, and was training for my hopeful/delusional career dreams as a professional mountain bike rider/racer. Cadence was critical in training as I wanted to maintain a cadence of 60 cycles per minute – turning the cranks (close to exactly) 60 times each minute. Was this an optimal cadence? Not necessarily, but the focus was on creating and creating a rhythm and maintaining it, and pacing at a cycle per second was pretty easy. In this case, my cycle frequency was 60 cycles per minute (the time period). My cadence was continuous, with no functional pauses.

But the key to this example, and why it was a key part of training, was the cycle frequency was independent of terrain, speed, or other factors. What that means is that I was to pedal the exact same speed, continuously, when climbing a hill off-seat, as when bombing down the other side, tucked and white knuckled.

This constant-cadence exercise is one that has a number of (other?) practical uses, including marketing schedule strategy, where the marketing messages would maintain a constant cadence, regardless of changing business need, season, surplus, shortage, etc.


How about you – is cadence as simple as getting back on a bike after a long time off?

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