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The Rule of Seven: A Marketing Classic

For decades, marketing students have been hearing about the Rule of Seven. The premise is, it takes seeing or hearing an advertisement seven times before a consumer will consider making that purchase. With that concept in mind, today I'm sharing seven considerations to keep in mind for effective messaging.

Seven Hurdles to Get Your Prospect to alyssa-ledesma-eK5QIVbBE6c-unsplashBuy

  1. Attention
  2. Competition
  3. Journey
  4. Belief
  5. Recognition
  6. Value
  7. Experience

First and foremost, you have to grab your buyer’s attention. They need to know you exist! In 2017, a consumer’s attention span was about eight seconds. While clearly not impossible, this hurdle continues to be more difficult each year. With every invention or additional platform there is the benefit of a new space to communicate on, but the challenge lies in knowing which channels your buyer’s prefer. Meet them where they are and you’re more likely to be discovered.

A very close second for “biggest hurdle” is competition. I mean this in several ways. Firstly, your direct competitors - they want to capture buyers just as much as you. Secondly, when setting up online ad campaigns, you’ll be in competition with those not selling the same products or services, but are trying to target a similar audience. Thirdly, space. While the World Wide Web is larger than a shelf at a convenience store, there is still a limited amount of screen space available. Users may not initially register your ad, even if it shows up. 

Let’s say you’ve made it on your prospective buyers screen, and they not only see your ad but click it. Pretty great, right? I’m sorry to break it to you but, not necessarily. Digital marketing isn’t any more magical than traditional marketing at this point; if a buyer isn’t in need of your product or service, they aren’t going to purchase. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey, your marketing efforts may grab them for a second, but won’t truly resonate. The journey for some products or services may be longer than others, depending on the price point or seasonality. Having a clear understanding of the questions your customers ask at each phase of their journey, and addressing them in your marketing efforts, will help you clear this hurdle with ease.

Call it reputation or trust, but before they purchase, a prospect needs to believe. They need to feel secure that your company is legitimate, that what you’re selling solves their problem, ultimately they are making a good choice in spending their money with you. Pro tip: using testimonials on your website and social media profiles helps calm their fears. 

While you may have stumbled a bit on the attention and journey hurdles, it’s alright because they train your prospect to clear the recognition hurdle. By that I mean, seeing you isn’t the same as knowing you. When your target buyer can find you on their own, whether they are able to recall your company’s name, or search keywords that get you found and gives them the feeling of “Yes! Them!” then you’ve accomplished the goal. They are only able to do this if they've been seeing messages from you.

Not all consumers are focused on price. Once they are in the consideration phase of their journey they will be trying to understand why it costs what it does. In other words, they are asking about the value. Is what you’re selling worth the price you’re asking? Is it comparable to what the competition (yes, there’s that hurdle again) is asking? Addressing this purchasing concern is essential to converting a prospect into a customer. 

For years, customization and personalization have been a component of marketing; the goal is to create an experience for customers. This is perhaps the most emotionally driven of all the hurdles. By knowing your purpose and effectively communicating that message, no matter the platform, you’ll construct an experience that is consistent and trust-worthy. 

As you craft consistent messages that attract, delight, and engage your audiences, you’ll be on your way to gaining loyal customers. If you’re in need of a little extra coaching to soar over these hurdles, reach out to us today.

Becca McPhail

About the author - Becca McPhail

Becca approaches each challenge with a cup of coffee and a smile. When she isn't wearing her Digital Marketing Coordinator hat at adWhite, you'll probably find her building elaborate LEGO sets with her boys or planning the next family escape to Disney. She dreams of one day becoming a beekeeper.