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Marketing Back to Basics for Success:The Rule of 7
1/20/2014

catamount marketing rule of 7
Brushing up on the basics, in any endeavor, is one key to success that the people who excel understand and apply. Much of marketing is molded from fundamental human nature and it’s easy to lose sight of these fundamentals in the fast-paced information world we live in. So I’m taking a timeout here to get back to basics.

One of the most common pieces of advice that I offer or formally propose is a marketing practice that’s been around since before the beginning of Madison Avenue time. The rule of seven is one of the oldest and consistent marketing truisms. You could easily expect the passage of time and today’s digital world to overshadow a concept this dated, but it’s as true today as it ever was – and worth getting reacquainted with.

Simply put, the rule of seven states that a prospective buyer likely won’t see or hear a marketing message, or seriously consider buying, until they’ve been exposed to the message at least seven times. Why not the rule of five, six or eight instead? The number seven is considered magical and consistently regarded in lore and mysticism. Seven is a number of great power, a lucky number, a number of psychic and mystical powers, of secrecy and the search for inner truth. The origin of seven's power lies in the lunar cycle. Each of the moon's four phases lasts about seven days. The Sumerians, who based their calendar on the moon, gave the week seven days and declared the seventh and last day of each week to be uncanny.

For a more analytical perspective, consider the following buying cycle data and where the number seven resides:
  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact
The important thing in the rule of seven is not the number, but the message. This simply tells you that you need to let the prospect hear and see your marketing message at least so many times before they buy it. There are many reasons for the need of repetition. Generally buyers just can't trust you and make the buying decision the first time they see your message.

So, this simply means that your marketing message should be repetitive and consistent. You cannot just run a couple of advertisements one time and expect the customers to buy the product. The hidden message of rule of seven is the continuous and repetitive effort that should be put in for marketing. Better results and ROI will occur if you play your lucky seven.

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