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It's a question that seems to be popping up on my Linkedin feed recently, so I wanted to do a quick post exploring the idea of touchpoints and how many are needed for a sale.
The first post I noticed was from Constant Contact who confidently claimed 21 touchpoints are needed for a sale (up from 17 in 2019). I also remember Linkedin in the past has suggested 8 touchpoints are needed, which is supported by TrueList, who agree 8 is the magic number but with the caveat, "... every prospect is different, so this number can vary" 🤣 No 💩.
Touchpoints are a two-way street. They empower marketing and sales to educate and win customers (outbound), but touchpoints also allow customers to educate themselves and make informed buying decisions on their own (inbound). So this makes them an essential part of the customer journey and you should be regularly reporting on the touchpoints you can measure and improve them.
But what if I say we can't see or report on some of the most powerful touchpoints. This is where dark social comes into the mix. If you're doing your marketing and branding well, then your content is getting consumed on dark social. Links and documents get sent via private message apps across peer groups, podcasts get listened to, videos and posts get viewed, and then there is word of mouth. These are all significant marketing touchpoints that you will struggle to report on accurately or even know exist.
Dark social and the fact that every potential customer is different means that measuring the average number of touchpoints to make a sale is a duff metric, in my opinion. People will buy from you when they are ready, not when you have reluctantly ground them down with 17 "touchpoints".
The important thing is to focus on the touchpoints you can control and measure/improve them, so they are as effective as possible (your website, landing pages, Linkedin profile, adverts, etc.). Then also acknowledge that if you create valuable content and distribute it on relevant channels, you won't get the complete picture of how your audience engages with it. And that's cool. Sometimes you don't have to measure everything. In fact, when it comes to building a brand being too KPI-driven will distract you from the bigger long-term goals.