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There is an old marketing adage that a prospect needs to hear your message seven times before the prospect will take action to purchase a product or service [The Marketing Rule of 7]. Movie studio bosses in the 30s discovered that a certain amount of advertising was required to urge someone to see a film, and in most cases, The Marketing Rule of 7 still holds true today.

Prospects need to know your company, and the product you are selling before they are willing to make a purchase. Creating familiarity with your brand takes time and a series of memorable touchpoints. The Marketing Rule of 7 is a great rule to go by, but honestly, the true number of needed touchpoints can depend on many factors. Some research suggests three touches, other research suggests eight or more. Thomas Smith wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885, which noted 20 required touchpoints.

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

While the jury may still be out on how many touchpoints are required to get the sale, The Marketing Rule of 7 is a great place to start because it forces you to plan a strategy on how to reach those consumers over and over again. You can develop your strategy from a numbers standpoint, or techniques to building individual relationships.

If you are collecting behavioral data, you have the information–at your fingertips–to market differently to each segmented audience. The message you send to a cold prospect should vary from one you send to someone with whom you have an existing relationship, and your messaging can change based on a prospect’s behavior.

The marketing mediums you use should vary too. Email is a great way to market quickly or consistently. Blogs are a great way to offer free guidance without a sales pitch that builds trust in your brand. Newsletters provide industry information and tidbits, that helps build the relationship as it educates and informs. Images and videos tell your story. Tradeshows and conferences are great for keeping up to date in the industry and networking with like-minded individuals. And so on.

Look at The Marketing Rule of 7 on an individual level first, starting with just one medium, and then on multiple levels with various mediums. You’ll find what works and what doesn’t, but you have to start with a strategy, and that can begin with 7, the new rule of 7.

The New Rule of 7
1. Segment your audience, and tailor the message specific to that audience.
2. Use multiple marketing mediums and avoid silos.
3. Develop your strategy based on your prospects interests.
4. Market individually based on audience behaviors.
5. Construct content that is meaningful to your prospects.
6. Create multi-level strategies.
7. Automate when possible!

Is 7 your lucky number? Roll the dice and find out! The New Rule of 7 may be in your future.