Miniature Horse World Magazine - Page 68

miniature tales By Frank Lupton The Rule of the Threes I n the early 1990s, as a marketing director for a major veterinary pharmaceutical company, I traveled a lot. This particular day, I was at Chicago’s O’Hare embarking on yet another trip and was at a newsstand browsing for something to read on the flight. Suddenly two male voices broke into my consciousness as they rose above the din of the masses passing by. One voice said, “Felix, funds are going to be limited, so what is your best advice oh how to get the most for my marketing money.” A second voice that I assumed was Felix replied, “Just remember the rule of the threes and you won’t go wrong.” As soon as my brain registered on what I had heard, I spun around to see the backs of two well dressed gentlemen rapidly walking away from my position. In what seemed but a mere second they were engulfed by the hoards of travelers and were gone. The rule of the threes, I had never heard of such a thing. Having taken over fifty hours of post graduate higher education in business and marketing from places such as Northwestern, Perdue, Wharton and Syracuse, one might expect that I would have stumbled across any and all rules that might exist. I suddenly felt as though I had somehow failed in my pursuit of knowledge. I decided then and there that I had to find out about this rule. For the next several years of my career, I asked every faculty member of whatever university I had contact with and every peer from the business world if they had heard of such a rule. For my efforts, I received nothing by quizzical looks that added to my mounting feelings of utter frustration. As time passed, this incident and my efforts to find this rule began to fade as life’s requirements took my full concentration. About six months before I took early retirement in 1997, I attended a by invitation only seminar at Northwestern hosted by a visiting 66 Miniature Horse World O ctober / N o v ember 2 0 1 5 South Korean professor. I was half expecting this to be a waste of time, but my boss wanted me to go and since they had paid for it, I wasn’t about to make waves. From the moment this gentleman uttered his first words I was absolutely riveted. He spoke English better than most native Americans. He was obviously brilliant. He was a charismatic speaker and my concentration was at an all time high. For some reason the rule of the threes popped into my head and I decided that if I had the chance, I would ask him if he had ever heard of such a thing. As soon as the chance for questions arose many hands flew into the air in unison. I was not the first to be recognized, or the second or third. That was okay because the third person to speak solved my problem. Her question, if I remember correctly, was something like this. With all of the new internet technology, enabling us to reach so many in such a short time, do you think print advertising has any remaining value at all? I will never forget his answer and, although I will not put quote marks around what follows, this is very close to verbatim. There are three things you must remember at all times. The first is that a person must see and comprehend an ad three times for the message to be remembered by the brain. The second is that when a person has access to a magazine in the home or their place of business, they pick it up and look at it an average of three different times. The third and final thing you must remember is that, on average, 3.2 different people read each copy of a magazine or journal. I will never know whether what I learned that day relates in any way to what I overheard in the airport. Most likely, it does not. When I left that seminar, however, I knew the mystery was solved. I had my own personal rule of the threes. In our modern world of instant connection, we have become too enamored with the ease of mass email, texting and the social media. To be sure these can all be valuable parts of an integrated promotional plan. For us, our website is our number one selling tool. It is our ads in the World magazine that drive people to our website. Hard copy has staying power beyond all other media. If you doubt this, do a little test. The next time you get a mass email announcing the latest online sale, go and find your latest copy of the World and set it next to your computer screen. Now take your mouse, move your cursor