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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 12, 2011 • Issue 11:09:01

The remarkable results of repetition, repetition

By Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

The Rule of Seven is a powerful marketing principle that businesses often overlook. Simply put, the Rule of Seven holds that to get a prospect to take some kind of action to become a buyer, you must reach and positively impact them at least seven times, in as many different ways as possible. Successful marketing using the Rule of Seven is based on the simple idea of repetition.

Why repetition matters

Repetition in marketing is important because most prospects don't take action the first few times they're exposed to your company's marketing. The reasons for prospects' inaction are many.

  • They're busy. Prospects are not sitting around waiting for you. They're busy living their lives and have countless business activities and initiatives on their plates. And they have responsibilities and commitments in their personal lives, too.

  • They're not familiar with your business. Repetition builds brand recognition and awareness, which in turn builds trust and credibility. Prospects become familiar with your company and your products and services over time.

    Through repeated exposure, they begin validating your company's legitimacy and start thinking about doing business with you.

  • They are bombarded with noise and countless distractions. Competition for time, money and attention is immense. You are competing in a noisy market, so you need to repeat your message until prospects hear you out.

    Even when you gain interest - and even when prospects decide they want your product or service - distractions can cause them to delay action and forget about buying from you and your company.

  • They can't or won't make a decision. Some prospects need more time than others to decide whether or not to act, and sometimes they need someone else's approval.

    Others simply procrastinate over decision-making in general, which is an easy thing to do. Know that time works against you; the more time that passes after a prospect receives your marketing, the less likely you are to make a sale.

  • Bad timing. You may be precisely targeting prospects for your products and services, but chances are they may not need them yet. Perhaps your message hasn't sunk in because budget money isn't available, or because prospects are preparing for a big meeting, traveling on business, or involved in a merger or acquisition.

    Countless reasons could stall them. The timing of your marketing efforts can be off. If prospects see your message only once, they may not remember you when they are ready to buy. To stay top of mind, you need to keep your company and marketing message visible. The old adage is true: out of sight is out of mind.

  • Misplaced promotional material. While marketing communications material is important to you and your business, it is less important to prospects, even when they ask for it.

    Prospects frequently lose and misplace the marketing information you provide, throwing it away or deleting it from their email inboxes. Repetition puts your material at their fingertips over and over again.

  • They are worried about price. Price objections are usually a cover for prospects who are not really sure they need or want what you have to offer.

    If a prospect seems interested but worried about money, you haven't quite convinced him or her of the value of your offerings. The good news is you've gotten past the noise.

    If prospects continue to see powerful marketing messages from your company that clearly articulate product and service value propositions and the benefits of doing business with your company, they soon will forget about price. That's why you need to keep marketing.

  • Unclear call to action. Many times, companies forget to encourage prospects to take immediate action. Your marketing should clearly communicate what you want prospects to do.

    Whether it's to pick up the telephone and call a sales representative, send an email, or download information from your website, you need to spell out exactly how you want prospects to take action.

How to make it work

Ideally, you should put the Rule of Seven to work by creating a campaign that maps out the who, what, where, when and how related to your marketing communications.

  • Identify whom you plan to communicate with by targeting prospects that are in a position to do business with you.

  • Specify what information and messages you want to communicate.

  • Choose where you will be communicating, such as in-person meetings and the telephone, industry journals and events, the Internet, etc.

    Determine the frequency of your communications - the when.

  • Pick the vehicles - the how - you will employ to get the word out, such as websites, advertising, public relations, telesales, tradeshows, brochures and white papers.

Repetition ensures that the information and ideas you're trying to imprint are remembered. But memory quality and recall depend on how many marketing vehicles you use.

A direct correlation is forged between the number of marketing mediums involved in making imprints and a prospect's ability to recall your information.

Don't rely on just one type of marketing method, even if you are getting stellar results. Things often change. Using a variety of mediums in an integrated approach increases the likelihood of catching the attention of prospects.

Once your campaign is in place, begin executing and be persistent in your efforts. Remember, most prospects don't take action the first few times they're exposed to your company's marketing. So it's unreasonable to expect results when you do a postcard mailing just once or run an advertisement only a couple of times. Again, frequency is the key to success.

As a marketing approach, repetition is superior to presenting your message once and hoping for the best. Put the Rule of Seven to work in your business today to reap the benefits of increased sales and greater brand recognition.

After all, seven is a lucky number. end of article

Peggy Bekavac Olson founded Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payment companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or peggyolson@smktg.com. If you would like information about Strategic Marketing, please visitt www.smktg.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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