The 95-5 Rule and how building your brand today leads to success tomorrow

Mercedes-Benz famously begins advertising to its customers when they are in their early 20s. The luxury German automaker does this knowing the vast majority of its customers won’t actually end up buying a Mercedes for a decade or two.

Everybody loves instant results, but unfortunately not every buyer is in-market for a product all the time.

In fact, far fewer people actually want what you are selling at any given moment. Research has shown that only 5 percent of buyers are ready to buy when asked.

In marketing this is known as the 95-5 Rule. Ninety-five percent of people are out-of-market  today, but will be in-market in the near future.

This is the reality that many advertisers face. And despite the overwhelming evidence that a majority of an audience isn’t ready to take action, many advertisers expect a campaign to show measurable results within 2 weeks of starting.

While immediate returns are certainly welcomed, it doesn’t change the fact that 95 percent of any given audience remains untapped at any given moment.

This is why awareness advertising and branding is so critical to ultimate success.

As a matter of fact, the brand that is most easily remembered is often the one that gets bought. Connecting a brand to relevant buying situations, or consumer entry points, creates top-of-mind awareness early in the customer journey.

It is critical that a brand has this exposure so that it is first to come to mind when a customer is ready to act. If they don’t know your brand when they enter the market, then it’s already too late.

If may feel counterintuitive to focus so much advertising effort on an audience that likely won’t take action for some time. However, by prospecting and nurturing these future customers brand’s set themselves up for success.

And as Mercedes has shown, that patience pays off. By advertising for tomorrow’s customer today, you create long-lasting impressions and maximize long-term performance.