How Long Does it Take Marketing To Work?

The headline for this blog post came from a recent meeting I had with a client to develop a new marketing plan for his business. What worked a few years ago to generate new business wasn’t working and he needs a new direction and new strategies. During the meeting the client asked me “How long will it take this to work?” and I was stuck for an answer.

So after a few internet searches I realized no one else knows either. With respect to advertising some say an ad has to be seen 3 times; another expert says 7 and there is even the Rule of 27 that claims it takes 27 impressions for an ad to stick.

The success of a marketing plan is measured differently than an advertisement would be, but the most important thing is to have objective and subjective goals and a way of measuring the success of the marketing plan. As for how long will it take to work? I think the fact someone recognizes something is broken and they need to fix it, things are only going to get better immediately.

During my research I came across this interesting list written in 1885 by Thomas Smith called Successful Advertising. I think this applies as much today as it did 127 years ago.

  1. The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  2. The second time, they don’t notice it.
  3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
  5. The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
  6. The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
  8. The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
  9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
  10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
  12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  13. The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
  14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
  17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
  18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
  19. The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
  20. The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

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