The Power of 3

Marketing, News

The Power of 3

Three is indeed a magic number, but what is the mystery that lies behind the number three?

The “power of three” is a concept popular with marketers and is actually linked to the evolution of the human brain. Our brains make constant judgements every day. Our choices protect us from harm – to live, we need to breathe air, eat food, and drink water. Instinctively, to survive, we must find a safe shelter, clean water, and hygienic food. These are the very choices which keep us alive as a species, and when we strip back all that we need in life, too many decisions could result in danger. Our planet is the third rock from the sun. We talk about our planet being in the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone because it is not too hot and not too cold; it is just at the right climate for us to survive.

The power of three is built into everything

We celebrate first, second and third place in competitions, giving Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals for such achievements. The primary colours of the colour wheel are red, yellow and blue. In music, “the third note of every scale provides the most basic harmony that human ears find pleasing” (Business Insider). A triangle is the most stable shape in geometry and is comprised of three sides. The Golden Section or Golden Ratio, as it’s often known, is a rule used in painting, graphic design and photography, which splits a canvas or image into thirds to create a composition that is pleasing to the eye. It is believed to have been in use for around 4,000 years, and was also used in Ancient Greek architecture. So what’s all this got to do with marketing?

We naturally group things in threes to emphasise an idea

Over the years, writing has been structured in threes from a tradition arising from storytelling – Three Billy Goats Gruff, Three Little Pigs, The Three Musketeers. In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts – Past, Present and Future.

Even in our homes, we have hot and cold taps to enable water to reach our desired water temperature, which is usually warm. We turn the heating on high or low to find that comfortable warm temperature in the middle. We apply the same logic to sales pipelines – we use hot, warm and cold to categorise our prospects and leads. In business, we also use low, medium and high for assessing the probability of a deal going ahead.

When it comes to marketing, the power of three is used to provide customers with a small selection of strong options – not too many, not too little, but clear distinctions to give people clear choices.

Focus on three key points that reflect your business offering. What are your three strongest, most powerful selling points (USPs) that you can offer your customer? Try asking only three distinct questions in your marketing campaigns. If you are selling packages for your products, try offering three clear options or pricing levels, A, B, C – Bronze, Silver, Gold – or try to be more creative, perhaps looking at nature for inspiration.

Once you understand how to use the power of three, you will find the success of your marketing campaigns will greatly improve. Too many options and too many choices will only serve to confuse your customer – and could endanger your business offering.

If you would like to discover how the power of three can help your business, please call 01455 444731 or email:


Image credit: “Three Number Glow Inner Electric Lamp” by Keerati
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