Three Ways to Catch The Attention of Consumers in a Highly Digital World

Humans now have a shorter attention span than Goldfish! A recent study from Microsoft reported that the average attention span of a human is about 8 seconds, compared to 9 seconds for Goldfish. Yikes! 

Due to our digital lifestyle, customers are not responsive unless you can grab their attention and hold their attention. The good news is that when an advertiser is successful at catching the attention of a consumer, it’s a major win! Often that potential consumer will read, comment, watch, share, talk, and repeat. 

The way brands keep our attention is called attention marketing. The key for marketers is to understand how it works and implement strategies that satisfy the demands of modern consumers. 

Why Is Attention Marketing So Difficult?

Most of the time, brands try to capture your attention by doing something new, sexy, different or gimmicky - and in principle that is fine. However, it's rarely part of a larger plan, with long-term goals.

I'd estimate that 50% of the time these attention-grabbing marketing tactics fail. Why? Consumers don't perceive them as credible. Sure, some campaigns go viral, but it is not necessarily the kind of attention you want, and often consumers don't even remember your brand or what you are selling.

This article from Business Insider uncovers 24 of the biggest marketing flops of all time. 

What’s The Solution?

Marketers should look for fresh ways to increase consumer attention by getting more out of their interactions with them. Look to produce high-impact, targeted communications that will gain genuine interest from your audience.

Your strategy should be on point with your brand principles and be line with what I've termed "The 3 C's of Attention Marketing Culture, Context, and Community."

1. Culture: Start to produce content inline with the culture of your brand and the audience you want to reach. Become part of a cultural conversation that is relevant to your brand. Don't be afraid to hijack existing cultural moments to prove you are in touch with what is happening at the moment. 

Make a statement about something that your audience considers meaningful, while being careful to make sure it aligns with the brand's essence.

An example is Covergirl’s campaign supporting gender diversity. The campaign was targeted at a younger generation of consumers.  Many in this generation no longer identify or care about binary genders (male and female). Covergirl became culturally relevant to these consumers by signing their first male ambassador. This was a monumental move as they departed from targeting their audience based on gender to targeting people based on style and preferences instead.

2 Context: This refers to delivering the right kind of message, at the right time, to the right person. It's tough to do this well, but it's becoming increasingly important to hold the attention of your audience.

When you have context around your relationship with a potential customer, you can provide personalized marketing content that's targeted to their needs. When done right, you will avoid producing the kind of marketing that annoys people. 

This concept originated with first names in emails. It used to be a novelty when to use "Hi <firstname>” and see your own name at the beginning of an email? It was groundbreaking! 

This idea was so successful because people prefer personal connection and recognition. In fact, a personalized email is still more effective than a generic one today. According to Aberdeen, personalized emails see 14% higher click-throughs than non-personalized emails.

Context is also about the right way to produce content across multiple platforms. This idea now expands far beyond creating a compelling website.

Use data to understand what platforms your customers are using and only target the sites where their target users spend the most time. Then, produce content that is contextually relevant and resonating to your audience. Don’t choose social networks at random and there is no need to establish a presence on every social networking site under the sun. 

What you say on Facebook is not necessarily the message you will convey on Instagram as your followers may be different demographics. Your blog posts might contain videos while your newsletter may be more straightforward. Understanding the context of the content you deliver is crucial in keeping the attention of your targeted consumer. 

3. Community: Developing a community of consumers is imperative in today's' marketplace. In 2018, consumers trust people over brands, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

To maintain attention, you need to create a very active audience that has incredible power to promote your brand. 

The most effective marketers can rely on their community instead of paid media. You can maximize the advantage of your community in three fundamental ways:

  1. Be present with your target audience. Develop a regular exchange that will create trust. Live up to the expectations you create.

  2. Be responsive. Listen and be positive.  Engage and involve your audience by asking them to share your content. Produce material that is worth sharing, and make sure it’s easy to do! 

  1. Leverage fans to amplify your brand. Your customers and followers can be an extension of our marketing team. Give them the tools so that they can talk about your brand. Participation will lead to amplification.

In Conclusion

Engage and communicate with your audience. Share why your content matters and tell them why you are worth paying attention to. It’s important to make sure that the content is substantial, rewarding, and continually gives people reasons to pay attention. 

The human brain can consume more content than ever, but the key is making that content matter to the person. Marketers have a short amount of time to deliver content that their audience finds worth consuming. The ability to capture, sustain, and skilfully relate to the fading attention spans of humans will be the ultimate measure of success in modern Marketing.

Did you find this article useful? If so, please SHARE it with others who are interested in attention marketing! 

Arnt Eriksen