The Hidden Lie about Seven Impressions in Advertising

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle

Jul 10

A Rule of Thumb Can Be a Lie Because It Is Misleading

A Rule of Thumb Can Be a Lie Because It Is Misleading

For some 30 years of my career in sales and marketing, we’ve used a rule of thumb that it takes seven impressions for the average person to buy — assuming he or she actually has a need for what you are selling. And as rules of thumb go, it’s a good one — if you understand what it means. Otherwise, it’s a lie to the extent that it can be very misleading. It’s a lie of omission.

When running ads, in magazines and newspapers, you would normally expect to run for seven days or seven monthly issues and get seven impressions. Wrong. Perhaps because my first sales job when I left the Air Force was in radio advertising, I immediately got a different slant on the seven impressions. Someone has to hear your spot or see — and actually notice — your ad for it to count as an impression. So immediately one has a challenge getting seven impressions.

How many people do you know who actually read every article and every ad in every issue for seven issues. That means that they might notice your ad every third or fourth one.

The other issue is that it needs to be frequent enough that the last impression hasn’t faded from memory. This is why in Internet marketing, the experts tend to email the members of their lists from once or twice a week to six or seven times a week. The objective, especially for soft sell salespeople and soft sell marketers is to maintain the connection.

So the hidden lie about seven impressions in advertising is a lie of omission. Being a rule of thumb, the novice would expect that seven ads or seven emails should start to produce sales. In reality, it’s more involved.
• First off, your reader must have a need and the ability to buy now.
• Secondly, your prospect has to have noticed the article or email, radio spot or podcast for it to make an impression.

Those of us who follow soft sell sales and marketing are comfortable with this. We build and maintain our relationship with the people on our lists, giving them value and striving to attract their interest every time. Because we work with them to know, like and trust us, we know they will buy when it’s right for them. When you help customers buy — whether it’s seven impressions or seventeen or seventy — you get so much more than just a commission or profit. You have a connection that makes selling fun, fulfilling, and mutually rewarding.

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About the Author

My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.