Marketing’s Rule of Three


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We marketers and sales folks have been trained that more offerings, products or options mean more chances to capture our buyers attention. That’s so not true.

Yesterday we chatted about how the mind processes those long lists we present to them. Our minds average those lists. Whether we’re creating those long menus on websites for Products, Services and Solutions or shooting out press releases to create that long list of media attention – longer lists aren’t the pathway to impress your buyers. The longer the list, the more average you become.

When More Isn’t Better….

Let’s say a potential buyer hits your website. They click on the Solutions tab and down comes a mile long menu of solutions and products. You may think that’s a good thing because it shows that you have something for everyone.

In fact – it’s the kiss of death. Why?

Your buyers won’t mentally consume that long list. Their minds won’t let them. Instead, they either average the list and miss the value you would deliver to them. Or their mind signals “overload” and they click away because they couldn’t lock onto one or two compelling offerings that resonated with their needs. Either way, they leave your site in search of a competitor that shares simple, compelling value relevant to the audience’s specific needs and triggers.

We’ve all been trained for decades to market and sell this way. From lists of products and features to tech specs and more, we love long lists that fill pages.

Our buyers minds’ hate them.

The Rule of Threes

For decades I’ve used the rule of threes (or fives for those folks who simply can’t make the big shift to threes). Modern science finally explains why it works, based on how our mind deletes, categorizes and generalizes information inputs. Our mind strips away the extra data clutter as it takes that entire list and averages it.

By mapping our sales and marketing messages directly to that mind function, we can engage and compel our buyers on an unconscious level. Here are some examples of how to do just that.

  • Instead of showing that laundry list of products or offerings – roll it up so that the products/offerings fall into one of three categories of value to the customer. Pick the three problems that you know your buyers face, discuss the value they could receive by shifting their approach and then, show them the products that can help them effect that change. By making this simple change – you communicate with your buyers’ unconscious mind in a way that triggers them to engage with you thanks to streamlined and much more powerful information.
  • Instead of listing those long lists of product features, focus on the top three values customers will receive by using that product. Make them compelling and be sure you have the evidence to demonstrate the value. Your audiences will be more impressed as they imprint your key powerful points instead of clicking away thanks to that big long list of features that simply overwhelmed them. Even if they want cool features, they will still average that list and you’ll lose your big advantage.
  • Instead of listing every single award, first or achievement possibly attributable to your company, focus on the most compelling three to five. Knock your buyers’ socks off with that short list and let your competitors be averaged with their long and not-so-compelling-afterall lists.

The Rule of Three works in every aspect of sales and marketing, from the value presented in a slide to the way we structure our company boilerplate to the focus we bring to a customer conversation.

The Bottom Line

Our unconscious mind controls how the data we input is managed and recognized. When it sees a long list of items – it doesn’t pay attention to all of them. Instead, it averages them to create a top three to five list that “covers” it all.

When we adhere to the traditional belief that more is better, we do our business a disservice. We send our audiences into averaging mode, and we lose our compelling position.

By following the Rule of Threes, we communicate with our audiences in a way that matches how their unconscious mind processes information inputs. We leverage mind science to imprint the full power of our message on our audiences’ minds.

So instead of being ‘average’ thanks to those long lists, think small and compelling, then watch your buyers engage.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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