A wise Air Force officer once told me that you have to say something 5 times for it to sink in with your audience. He was focusing on situations in which our message doesn’t directly benefit the audience, and in that case he was absolutely right.
You could say he was talking about push marketing and not pull marketing. Like telling someone your restaurant will open for lunch at noon next Thursday, versus being open, ready, and indexed when a starving man Googles area restaurants. You don’t have to repeat yourself with that guy.
Craig Davis of J. Walter Thompson summed this up nicely by saying: “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” That’s great advice for any businessperson. When our content perfectly matches audience needs, we don’t have to repeat ourselves.
But I’ve yet to work with a company with the patience to rely solely on in-bound marketing, or an environment that would enable this. For example, how would the market race to you if you’re introducing new technology, or if you’re addressing a need that people don’t know they have or can’t verbalize?
There are still plenty of situations in which you need to push something, or communicate something that doesn’t immediately click. You’ll probably need to repeat yourself to get the message across, and five times is a good rule of thumb. In fact, it’s my fifth rule of thumb for B2B marketing.