The marketing rule of 7 is one of the oldest in the book. Jonathan Hedger explores how relevant it is for B2B businesses today, and how marketers can execute it

Experienced marketers know that your chances of converting a prospect to a customer at their first interaction with your brand are extremely low. There are exceptions to this, but they generally exist with low-value consumer products that can elicit a spontaneous purchase decision. A chocolate bar at the checkout is a classic example.

So what about high-value B2B products? We know that a B2B purchase is more complex than a B2C one. The time-to-purchase tends to be much slower and there are usually multiple decision-makers involved. This makes converting B2B customers much harder. It’s also why the ‘rule of seven’ is your friend.

What is the marketing rule of 7?

The rule of seven quite simply states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place.

This makes sense. How many of us would buy a highly priced item from an unfamiliar brand? It’s likely we would do some research and gain a certain level of familiarity before we go ahead and make a purchase. By that time we should have the confidence to know the price is fair, the quality is good enough and anything else that may get in the way of making a decision.

“Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before the first meeting with a representative”

Accenture, 2018

What defines an interaction?

An interaction is literally any mention of your brand, either positive or negative. For example:

  • A TV advert
  • A call from a company representative
  • Reading a review about your company
  • Seeing an advert in a magazine
  • Receiving an email from the brand
  • Hearing a friend mention the brand
  • Seeing the brand mentioned in an article online
  • Seeing a billboard on the side of the road
  • Seeing a banner online
  • Seeing the company come up in a google search
  • Seeing the company exhibiting at or mentioned at an event

The list is almost endless. Any one of these brand interactions, as long as it’s positive, will nudge the prospect towards a purchasing decision.

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