The five Rs of marketing

by Nigel Hollis | March 08, 2017

The idea of the three marketing Rs has been around for some time, but now it seems that Mars has added a fourth R: risk. Now, I have always been told that people remember things that come in threes and fives better than even numbers, so how about I add one more R? That would be receptivity.


For those of you wondering what the first three Rs might be according to Mars’ Allison Miazga-Bedrick, they are reach, relevancy and reaction. But I am going to propose a slightly different list that includes receptivity and risk.


If you want to influence someone you have to reach them. That is why TV remains the mainstay of most media campaigns. However, it does not have to be that way. Recently, I came across a case study for Wall’s Classics in the UK that primarily used outdoor and Facebook (old school and new school street media) to good effect.


Maybe receptivity got dropped from the list because most marketers just don’t want to think about it, but increasingly they have to do so. AdReaction Gen X, Y, Z finds that Gen Z is more averse to advertising than older consumers and more likely to block ads with technology, or use other ad avoidance strategies.


At the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2017 Brand Masters Conference Miazga-Bedrick noted that risk-taking was embraced at Mars, although she also noted that testing and metrics were important to judging the success of a campaign or not. This is in line with the 70/20/10 philosophy that encourages experimentation.


The success of risk taking is judged by the audience; do they engage with the content, talk about it and share it? I have deliberately used the word “resonance” rather than relevancy because it speaks to the fact that most campaigns need to engage people’s emotions in order to succeed.


Success is ultimately defined not by likes or shares, but by the sales response. However, it is worth noting that this could come in the form of additional penetration or reduced price elasticity; there is more than one way of growing the financial value of a brand.

Of course, now that I have listed these five Rs some others have come to mind. How about recency for instance? And maybe you have some others you would like to add to the list? Please share your thoughts.


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  1. Nigel, March 12, 2017

    Thank you for your comments.

    Ah yes, how could I forget recall? The all important bridge between resonance and reaction. However, it seems clear to me that S M Didarul Hasan is thinking of something more specific than generic recall but rather brand-linked awareness. The ability to create positive and motivating associations linked to the brand in people's minds and which, when recalled, have the power to influence purchase.

    Response and reaction I see as substitutable but return on investment would clearly be a good addition.

    So now we have seven Rs. Any more?

  2. Matthew Margetts, March 11, 2017

    You could add Reprocity - rewarding the customer 

  3. S M Didarul Hasan, Senior Marketing Manager, Ispahani Group; from Bangladesh, March 09, 2017


    What about recall? Whatever we do for brand marketing we wait for a recall as a consequence. Awareness is okay. Whether someone can recall that brand in the moment of truth? Can it beat in-market strengths of competing brands? How powerful is the recall? Have we ever check the strength/breadth of recall? So, if brand awareness is higher consumers positively will recall it; if they have higher affinity they will stick to the brand and that recall will end up in positive actions intended. Superficially, whatever we do in marketing we do for a positive and effective recall.

  4. Freddy Rosales, March 08, 2017



    Return on investment

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