Why all brand marketers should know about the 95/5 Rule

Many brand marketers feel that brands should focus purely on directing their audiences to act, try, or buy their product now. With this approach of immediacy, the hope is that an audience will be quickly engaged to do something and the brand campaign that brand has produced will be deemed successful, thanks to the measurable conversions.

One issue with this approach is that it forces a brand to determine the success of its campaign by the conversions it achieves within a short time of campaign release. Inevitably, if the number of conversions is low, this will then lead to brand marketers assuming that their campaign had little to no impact on its target audience. This is a short-sighted position, as they aren’t taking into account the long-term impact that a brand campaign could have on a brand’s future success.

It is also important to note that brand marketers understand the difference between brand campaigns and tactical campaigns: brand campaigns drive saliency and equity, whereas tactical campaigns drive purchase and action. Having a balance of both is vital, however, trying to determine the ROI of a brand campaign ultimately ignores the long-term impact and role of a brand.

This is where the 95/5 rule comes in: put simply, the 95/5 rule argues that only 5% of your buyers will want to buy today, and 95% will not.

Although this may sound like quite a disappointing statistic, it doesn’t mean that your 95% will never want to buy from your brand; they’re just not ready to right now. This rule is particularly relevant for B2B marketing, and for industries with longer purchase cycles such as cars, tech equipment or insurance. It suggests that to prepare for future demand, marketers should focus on that 95% (as well as the 5% who are ready) by creating ads and campaigns that leave a meaningful, lasting impression. When the majority of your audience is finally ready to buy 1, 2, or even 5 years after seeing your initial ad, it will have made such an impression that your brand will be the first one they think of when looking to buy.

Reconciling the fact that a brand campaign might not garner immediate success may be tough, but it is a realistic approach when planning your brand’s long-term growth. If you consider what most consumers look for in their goods and services, one of the most obvious factors is quality. Having to buy a new version of the same product every few weeks or months is inevitably a waste of money and a poor investment for your consumer, no matter how impactful the brand campaign you created for them happened to be.

When the quality product they bought inevitably needs to be replaced after a few years of use, your consumer will understand the value of investing in a brand they know, trust and like. It is here that the brand campaign you designed will pay off and create additional conversions.

As LinkedIn’s Director of Marketing Engagement Ty Heath says, “The best ads drive sales over the longest periods of time by building memories that still have the power to influence our buying decisions years later.”

By following the 95/5 rule – and really focusing on appealing to that 95% in the long term –  you can work towards creating brand loyalty and awareness in a powerful way. This will in turn give you a strong campaign ROI and set up your brand for success in the long term.

At Hall & Partners, we design innovative market research for your brand, uncovering uncommon insights to fully understand your audience, and optimise your brand and brand campaigns for your future success and growth.

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A monthly newsletter bursting with thinking on how to grow your brand: from in-depth analysis to practical advice. Sign-up for the latest industry perspectives, insight reports, free-to-attend webinars, and exclusive events.

You can view our privacy policy here. By submitting this form you are opting in to receive occasional brand, marketing and communications insights from Hall & Partners