The Rule of 27August 29, 2011

Think about anytime you’ve heard “I’ve already told you about this” or “don’t you remember?” Each instance you’ve heard someone say that to you, you understand that, well, they were probably right, but I mean, come on, if you’re busy thinking about something else, how much are you really paying attention? That’s the essential understanding necessary to approach a new marketing campaign, understanding that people aren’t familiar with your product, they don’t know who you are, so they aren’t going to be looking for you; they do not know what you offer, not yet. But they will.
It is proven that in every three times a prospect is exposed to your marketing message ¬via ad, sign, monthly direct mail advertising, email, and so on;¬ it gets missed or ignored two out of those three times. This is why you must produce information about your company a total of 27 times in order to make those nine impressions.

For example, if you’re primary marketing takes the form of online advertising, and you run a good quality ad once a week on Google here's how it generally works in real world marketing for a new business that has not yet done any marketing:

The first time your prospect sees your ad, they don’t think about it much. Your message barely registers, but does get noticed. Though you've run it three times, he's noticed it just once.

Run your ad six times and your prospect is noticing it for the second time. They may read the headline and look at the visual, possibly even read the copy. At that’s really happening at this point is that they are thinking “déjà vu”.

Sales aren't soaring; customers aren't pouring through the door or your phone isn’t ringing off the hook. No matter how many times your mom calls to check in, that doesn’t count. Now you’re wondering what's happening? What's happening is that your prospect is only seeing your ad for the third time and recalling that he has definitely seen this ad before, but from where?

Now, you've run your advertising a full 12 weeks. Twelve ads you've paid for and your prospect has seen only four of them. Your prospect knows now that he's seen your ads before, and he figures
that you must be offering something of value or you wouldn't keep on advertising it. “Thinking wow, business must be good, what am I missing out on?” (Some people tend to believe that success breeds frequent advertising, it's interesting to note that just the reverse is true.)

With your budget to the grindstone, you keep running those ads to those same people in those same media and your accountant still has no good news for you. The accountant wonders why you're putting all those bucks into 15 ads without seeing tangible results. You wonder the same thing. While you and your accountant go back and forth on this, your prospect is beginning to feel a sense of familiarity with you. Maybe they should check you out someday. And yes, they'll do that.

Your prospect has now seen your ad six times over quite a long period, ¬about a year, they figure, though it's only been about four or five months. They begin to think about how they can possibly buy what you're selling. In your mind, you’ve run your ads for 18 weeks, and there's no real sign that they've taken hold yet.

At this point, most business owners figure they've been going about their marketing the wrong way. Maybe they shouldn't be running ads. Maybe the ads should have said different things. Maybe the ads should have run in different publications. Maybe the graphics were bad. Then they pull their ads -& stop advertising, then look into something different.

STOP! Don't do it! Can’t let them do that! We can't let them stop their ads just when they're beginning to take effect. Can't they see that the ads are about to work? No, they can't see that at all. So they really do make a major and ill-advised change in their marketing, possibly eliminating all their advertising in the process.

This is normal. The prospect is getting hotter and hotter about buying, but the advertiser is not seeing results. So the process comes to a screeching halt. The sale is never completed. The completion will only take place when the advertising is allowed to run.

You have waited 21 weeks now, five months and the advertising for which you have paid so dearly is not yet paying for itself, let alone paying for anything. Felling discouraged? Who wouldn't be after 21 weeks of unanswered ads? Well, for one, the prospect isn't. Just now they were figuring out a time that they could own what you're offering. They are figuring out how to pay for it, where to put it, even thinking about the benefits of it, the ones you reminded them of in your ads.

Well, the marketing is working by now. Your prospect has it all figured out ¬ where, when, how, and why to buy what you've been offering. They feel good about you, that they can count on you because you've been a constant presence online and you've maintained a clear identity, and because they keep reading about your company. Beware, for at this point, some business owners stop advertising. They just can't rationalize pouring any more money into something that's not working. So they just quit the media, quit advertising, break off all those budding relationships with new prospects. Those prospects, seeing the sudden end of advertising, have their confidence shaken, and decide to wait before making their purchase.

The business owners who hung in there are delighted but not shocked when they see tangible proof of advertising's efficacy. Increasing numbers of prospects, people who were once totally apathetic to the
business, knowing and thinking nothing about it, are now customers¬ and if you do a great job, repeat customers, the life force of a profitable business.

It took 27 ads to get through to these people 9 times. They had to see your message nine times to gain, and sustain a desire to buy and own what you sell. Few business owners are willing to pay that high for a long wait-period, but those who are willing to accept a lethargic sales curve will gain the benefits of a valuable and rare personality trait: patience and a very lucrative future.