All companies share at least some similar goals, like increase brand awareness and convert potential customers into brand ambassadors.
But what does it mean to increase brand awareness?
Exposure, exposure, exposure.
Otherwise known as the marketing rule of 7.
What is the marketing rule of 7?
The marketing rule of 7 states that a potential customer must interact with a brand at least 7 times before they’ll make a purchase. An “interaction” can be just about anything — as long as your brand name is connecting with your intended audience in some way.
Whether it’s a driver seeing your billboard on the side of the highway, an Instagram user scrolling past a targeted advertisement or a word-of-mouth review from a colleague, your brand is gaining exposure and floating toward the front of people’s minds.
But does the marketing rule of 7 apply everywhere or only to certain brands?
How the marketing rule of 7 applies to big and small purchases
Generally, the marketing rule of 7 applies to high value purchases.
Because it takes a lot of convincing for a person to spend a pretty penny on a brand they’ve never bought anything from before.
For example, consider buying a new mattress.
Not only are mattresses expensive, but your mattress is something you use every night, and its quality directly impacts your sleep.
So would you buy a mattress from a brand you’ve never heard of?
For many consumers, the answer is no.
The mattress brands that are most top of mind often are Sleep Number, Tempur-Pedic Mattress Firm or Casper.
Those are likely the first places that someone will look for a new mattress, simply because they’ve heard of them and they know those companies have sold thousands of mattresses. Many customers don’t even necessarily need to hear from a friend that their products are good quality — they just trust well-known brands.
Low-cost purchases, on the other hand, are not as big a deal, so people are more willing to take chances.
Some companies that sell small, cheap items simply market their products by putting them right in front of a potential customer’s face while they’re making a purchase. Packs of gum by the checkout counter of a grocery store is a classic example of that strategy.
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How to convey your marketing message
So now that we’ve established what the marketing rule of 7 is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how your brand can implement this rule into your advertising.
1. Identify your intended audience
There are so many ways a potential customer can interact with your brand. Choosing the 7 ways you’ll expose your brand to a target audience depends heavily on who exactly it is you’re trying to reach.
Are you selling products or services meant for elderly customers? If so, you might need an omnichannel strategy, seeing as 38% of Americans over the age of 70 don’t own a smartphone, according to AARP.
Does your target audience include Generation Z? Then, you may want to enhance your social media presence and not waste your time on television ads, since Gen Z overwhelmingly spends more time on their phones than in front of the TV, according to Business Insider.
Whomever you’re trying to reach, there are interactions that make sense and there are some that don’t.
2. Gain recognition from your target audience
When someone begins to recognize your brand name, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
So how can brands increase their interactions with an ideal customer?
If you’re willing to spend, you could opt for a television commercial or an advertisement in a popular magazine.
More affordable options are leveraging your social media presence, although you may want to hire a social media strategist for the best results.
When we say 7 interactions, we don’t necessarily mean 7 different types of interactions. If Instagram is your greatest tool, you can focus heavily on creating a unique post at least once a day and producing targeted ads for social media scrollers.
The key is whatever marketing channel you opt for, really drive your marketing message home with lots of activity. Post on social media daily, plaster your ads all over town, interact with other brands regularly — the list goes on. Just don’t be shy.
3. Gain the trust of prospective customers
It’s one thing to gain a permanent spot in the forefront of consumers’ minds. It’s another to get them to trust your brand to the point where they make a purchase.
Advertising exists in many forms. Advertisements with very few words or information, like billboards, posters and small print ads, may increase brand awareness, but might not necessarily create trust.
Inbound marketing, like content marketing or engaging social media campaigns, can be the driving force that convinces more skeptical consumers to commit. When your brand produces content about the industry, people can learn from your expertise and subsequently trust your products or services.
Take Melissa & Doug, for example. They are a popular children’s toy company. They’ve built trust in the parenting community by establishing themselves as knowledgeable, creative and sensitive, largely through their Pinterest page. The page is full of ideas for fun activities and crafts for parents and children to do together.
Just look at how much content they’ve put together on sensory bins alone (and this doesn’t even scratch the surface).
Measuring brand success
So your brand is following the marketing rule of 7. How do you tell if it’s working?
Many brands ask their customers if they can send them a customer survey after they finish making their purchase. In this survey there is often the question, “How did you hear about us?”
The answers to that question will often tell you the marketing effort that works best and the one that could use some adjustments.
For example, if one channel, like social media, is always the top response, this can give you an idea that the marketing rule of 7 is having a strong impact through that particular channel. But, if hardly anyone responds that they heard of your business through your print ads, maybe you can shift budget away from that method.
You can also use Google Analytics to track website traffic and social media engagements, informing you of which of your posts are popular among consumers and which had less success.
However you measure your success, stay vigilant. That’s what the marketing rule of 7 is all about.