In the opening line of his hit song “Remember The Time,” the late great King of pop—Michael Jackson asked, “Do you remember when we fell in love?” Now, I may have just been a kid when I first heard the song, but for some strange reason—that line always stood out to me.
As I matured, I’ve grown to realize that simply remembering what led us to falling in love with someone or something—goes a long way in helping us remain in love with whatever it may be. That’s a testament to the power of recall. Which is why it is so important to make a concerted effort to leave a great impression on those we encounter—especially our first time meeting them.
As a brand manager, one of your top priorities will always consist of getting your audience to remember your brand. Which means your brand must make lasting impressions on them. And the greater the impression you leave on your audience initially—the more fondly that audience will remember your brand. But in order for them to take a desired action—like making a purchase—it often takes multiple great impressions to influence them to do so.
How many times an ad has to be seen?
Here’s a fun fact, did you know that an estimated 78% of snack food purchases are impulse buys? Which means that almost 8 out of the 10 times that someone purchases a snack food product at a store—they had no intention of doing so prior to walking in.
Depending on just how you may view marketing—that’s either a good or a bad thing.
Unfortunately, for non-snack food brands—impulse buys aren’t the norm. Which means that at least a certain degree of marketing is required in order to entice consumers to purchase your brand's products.
And when it comes to the amount of times that a person needs to be exposed to an advertisement, it takes on average—7 to 13 exposures or “touches” with a brand’s ad or marketing materials before a prospect or potential customer becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and is ready to make a purchase of whatever the brand is offering.
Why so many times?
Unlike snack foods, which are usually purchased by consumers on impulse; most other purchases made by consumers—whether a product or service, require three important factors prior to a person doing so. Those three factors are: brand awareness, category need, and brand recall.
And while effective brand positioning could help keep your brand top-of-mind as it pertains to a consumer’s need whenever it’s time for them to make a purchase, before that can happen—people first must be aware that your brand even exists.
Not only that, they also have to be able to recall the fact that your brand offers a benefit that addresses their need—which usually comes only after being exposed to your brand's ads or marketing materials at least 7 to 13 times.
Is advertising the only way to make sales?
The most common marketing mistake that I see is brands with large capital believing that paid advertising is the cure for everything—especially sales. Sure, advertising is a great way to create brand awareness—but by the time your brand begins to pay for advertising, it should have already excelled at all of the other facets of marketing.
“If advertising is the way the public usually discovers a product, marketing is what determines what it will discover.” Says author Michael Levine in his book, A Branded World. “Advertising is what happens when marketing has already been done.”
With social media being such an influential medium brands can utilize to create awareness; your brand doesn’t need advertisements in order to inform your audience it exists. At least not initially.
If you utilize social media correctly as a channel to connect with your brand's core audience and showcase your content, brand personality, while also creating publicity—your brand will build trust with its audience. Which leads to sales over time as more people become cognizant of your brand.
And if your offerings are deemed beneficial to your audience—whether it’s through word-of-mouth (which is the most effective form of advertising) or earned trust; throughout time—more people will begin to buy what it is that you’re selling.
However, at some point…a business must begin to advertise in order to scale and maintain the leadership position in its category.
In fact, the 4th immutable law of branding is the law of advertising. “Sooner or later a leader has to shift its branding strategy from publicity to advertising.” Says Al and Laura Ries, authors of The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding. “Advertising is a powerful tool, not to build leadership of a fledgling brand, but to maintain that leadership once it is obtained.”
Once all of the other components of your brand’s marketing mix are effectively in place, advertising will serve as the proverbial icing on its cake. But only if you can serve it to the individuals within your audience at least 7 to 13 times.