The Attention Economy is here and it’s making marketing more challenging than ever.
The explosion of technology we’ve experienced the past few decades has given everyone access to more and more information, but that abundance of data is overwhelming people.
Even if they wanted to (and some do), it’s impossible for people to focus their attention on everything out there. News. Social media. Emails. Entertainment. Work. So much to do. So much to see. So many devices to use. Not enough hours in the day.
So people severely budget their time to do what they can — or want to do — within their daily schedule.
It’s also making it harder for marketers to attract their attention because they’re pulled in so many different directions.
Welcome to the Attention Economy.
Attention is a resource — and it’s very scarce
The phrase “Attention Economy” was coined by authors Thomas Davenport and John Beck in 2001 about the time that the internet and the digital tsunami destined to hit us were just starting to build steam.
They claimed that in a world engulfed by information and people bombarded with an increasing number of distractions, attention was a scarce resource. Boy, were they right.
And it’s become increasingly scarcer ever since.
They also argued that this shift in behavior is one of the biggest threats to marketing we’ve seen in years. They were right again.
Marketing to a distracted world
Capturing the interest of prospective customers has always been a hurdle for marketers. Not only creating a message that will engage prospects and draw leads, but also cutting through the clutter of daily disruptions, including other companies’ marketing messages fighting for attention.
Davenport and Beck warned that unless companies adapt to the Attention Economy, they will fall behind. So what should marketers do to combat this lack of attention?
Same thing they’ve always done. Just more of it with higher quality content.
Be everywhere at every single moment of the day.
Okay, maybe not everywhere at every single moment. After all, most marketers need to contend with budgets almost as limited as their prospects’ attention.
The key has always been and still is to be where your target audience hangs out. But today, with the multitude of onsite and even offsite (people have to go outside sometime) sources vying for attention and the various devices providing access to them, it’s important to have points of engagement across as many channels as possible.
It increases the chances of someone seeing your message.
This is even more essential if your product isn’t the “best.” Getting your content in front of prospects faster and more often than competitors that offer superior products may help influence people to buy your products first.
Content is key to grabbing attention
The number of available hours people ration every day isn’t the only barrier to crack. It’s also the length of attention span they’ll afford you because of that limited time. Even if prospects happen to see your message, they’ll only give it a few seconds.
If it doesn’t compel them quickly to stop and read more, then they’ll pass it by. This is where relevant integrated (everything working together everywhere) content becomes critical.
Know who they are. What they want. Their behaviors. Then tailor the message to their specific needs. Craft the benefits and offer so that they’re pertinent and solves their problems with clear-cut solutions.
Then put those solutions in your headline. Keep it short and easy to read. Give them a reason to click and learn more.
You’ve won their attention — now hold it
Okay, you’ve managed to lasso a prospective customer and pulled them to your website or landing page. Now what?
You give them the information they need to stay there. The seemingly infinite source of information at our fingertips isn’t just entertaining and keeping people up to date on the world, it’s also educating them on products they need and want.
That means you must be ready to do the same. Provide marketing messages that convince them your products are their best option or you risk losing sales to your competitors.
Again, make sure it’s relevant. Personalize it. Build a connection. Include a compelling call to action. Influence them to take the next step and the next and the next until they’re ready to buy.
Want Attention? Pay attention.
Potential customers have always been a swiftly moving target. Now they seem to be moving at lightspeed.
Want their attention? Pay attention to them. Get the right message in front of them as often as possible.
To do that, your marketing team will need to spend even more time researching and developing ways to reach people who have less time to spend on you.
Need help? Contact us today.
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