What? Seven Is Not the Magic Number?

Recently we talked about the limits of withholding and the magic number seven: on average, it takes 7 touches to get a prospect to remember you.

Remembering isn’t enough.

What is being in business for? Converting prospects to paying customers. Getting somebody to remember you is not enough. You need them to buy. You need to find many ways to reach out, and as many opportunities as possible to convey your message to potential clients.

So how long is this going to take?

Try catching my eye 20 times.

The first time a man looks at an ad, he does not see it.

The second time, he does not notice it.

The third time, he is conscious of its existence.

The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.

The fifth time, he reads the ad.

The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.

The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”

The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”

The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.

The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.

The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.

The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.

The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.

The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.

The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.

The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it someday.

The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.

The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.

The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.

The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

— Thomas Smith, How Advertising Frequency Equates to Advertising Effectiveness, (1885)*

How will you catch your Ideal Customer’s attention 20 times?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


*I first read this wonderful maxim in C. J. Hayden’s book Get Clients Now! years ago. It’s an excellent read if you like your marketing advice broken down into do-able daily parcels—and who doesn’t love that?