The Snowball Effect of Marketing
People love instant results. It’s natural to want confirmation that your efforts are paying off. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always work that way. Before you implement a marketing strategy for your company, you should understand the snowball effect of marketing.
Marketing Is a Long-Term Investment
When you join a gym, you don’t instantly get a six-pack. When you sign up for a cooking class, the knowledge of how to make delectable souffles isn’t automatically uploaded into your brain.
It can also take a while to see results from a marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean marketing isn’t worthwhile, just as we wouldn’t say it’s a waste of time to exercise or take a class. You do, however, need to approach marketing with the right frame of mind.
Think of marketing as a long-term investment, not an instant lottery payout. Otherwise, you might become frustrated and give up. You need to remember that marketing does pay off over time – whereas a lack of marketing can hurt your brand.
The Psychology of Marketing
People like the familiar. The mere exposure effect (a well-known psychological phenomenon) refers to the fact that people respond more favorably to things they’ve encountered before. This explains why people prefer songs, food, places, and even other people they already know. It also means you can encourage people to like your brand simply by making sure they know about it.
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon – another psychological effect – refers to how we tend to notice something everywhere after learning about it. This explains why you might learn a new word and then see or hear it multiple times in the following days. As How Stuff Works explains, you’re not actually being exposed to the new item more frequently; you’re just noticing it more because you’re familiar with it.
Taken together, the mere exposure effect and the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon mean that exposing people to your brand will cause them to start noticing it more, which, in turn, can make them like it more.
You May Need to Be Patient
A small acorn can grow into a mighty oak – but if you stare at the acorn expecting to see immediate results, you’ll be disappointed.
Although marketing is effective, the results aren’t always instant, especially if the people you’ve reached aren’t ready to buy or don’t have a pressing need for your insurance products. As soon as a need arises, however, they are likely to go with a familiar brand. Thanks to marketing, that brand may be yours.
This is due to another psychological phenomenon. Although people often claim to appreciate having options, when they are stressed, needing to make a decision becomes another source of anxiety. According to a paper published in the Association for Psychological Science, when this happens, people tend to go with the familiar option, no matter if it’s not the best option.
For this reason, offering the best insurance products at the most competitive price isn’t enough. People need to be familiar with your brand to make a quick and easy decision at some point down the line. Consistent marketing is the way to develop this familiarity.
Numbers That Support the Theories
So far, we’ve looked at the psychological phenomena that explain why you need to view marketing as a long-term investment. Now let’s look at the numbers. How much marketing is enough?
According to the traditional Rule of Seven, prospects need to hear an offer at least seven times before they’re likely to act on it. Seven is not a magic number, but this old saying is based on an important observation that has been noticed time and again: repeated exposures are necessary to turn prospects into customers.
Although the number of necessary exposures may not always be seven, this does provide a ballpark figure. According to HubSpot, prospecting success often takes around eight touchpoints. HubSpot says this number is backed by a “broad spectrum of data.” It’s also remarkably close to the Rule of Seven.
However, it’s important to note that as purchase complexity increases, so does the number of touchpoints required. If you’re selling an insurance software system that costs seven figures and requires a multi-year commitment, it will probably require more than seven or eight touches to make a sale.
Increasing Interactions Through Online Content
According to Pew Research Center, 93% of U.S. adults use the internet and 85% go online every day. Companies have no better tool than the internet to increase the number of interactions with prospective customers.
This is true whether you’re dealing with individuals or other businesses. According to a report from Visual Objects, 76% of consumers research a company online before visiting a physical location. In addition, research from FocusVision shows that B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before making a decision.
The Consequences of Not Marketing
What happens if your brand gives up on marketing? Prospects who look online for information won’t find much from you. When that happens, they may go to your competitor for the content they need – assuming they even consider your brand in the first place. Without marketing, your brand won’t be familiar, which means buyers won’t think of you when they need to make a purchasing decision.
According to HubSpot, small businesses can increase their lead growth by 126% by having a blog. This means companies that opt not to blog – perhaps because they’re unhappy with the lack of instant results – are missing out on a proven way to generate leads and grow their businesses.
Marketing works, even though the results aren’t often instantaneous. Like many good things in life, it pays to be patient and persistent with your insurance marketing. Even if you don’t want to grow, you’ll need to keep your website fresh and do some marketing just to stay even. When you stop being active, your competitors pass you by.