Why Your Customers’ Attention is the Scarcest Resource in 2017

Joshua Saxon
IE School of Human Sciences & Technology
Current average rating    
Key Takeaways

What? Consumers are exposed to over 10,000 brand messages a day.

So What? How can brands break through the noice and create urgency that makes consumers take action?

Now What? Marketers should put consumers before themselves and create simple, effective, consistent messaging.

Brought to you by:

 

Content brought to you by: IE School of Human Sciences & Technology


Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. And as marketers are presented with more and more channels to reach their customers, that number is growing rapidly.

Consumers switch between screens up to 21 times an hour according to a British study, which correlates with Microsoft’s claim that the average person’s attention span is now just eight seconds.

At IE School of Human Sciences & Technology, students are constantly building their knowledge of how to break through all that noise and create impactful marketing messages. Academic director of Market Research and Consumer Behaviour Jaime Veiga Mateos affirms the growing number of distractions is definitely posing a problem for today’s marketer.

“As consumers, our attention is divided across different screens and multi-tasking so the fight for our attention is tougher than ever,” he said.

With so many distractions surrounding your target market, how can you make your brand stand out and create the kind of urgency that makes them take action?

It’s not you, it’s me

One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to frame a campaign in terms of what they themselves want to achieve. Of course, it’s essential to have goals as part of any actionable plan, but thinking of things exclusively in terms of your company’s goals and ignoring what the customer wants can lead to bad practices.

“New technologies and social platforms are enabling new ways of testing for market researchers,” Mateos said.“ And more importantly, they can do this with a limited time-frame, so investment and business impact is limited.”

By understanding exactly who their customers are, marketers are better equipped to create attention-grabbing campaigns that also add value.

The rise in clickbait is playing with this idea, targeting consumers with headlines that speak to them emotionally based on their interests, location, demographic, and other metrics. But this tactic generally fails to offer any real value once the user has clicked through, reducing the overall impact of any campaign. Remembering to serve your customer before yourself avoids this kind of vapid engagement by consistently offering relevant, engaging content.

Happy customer, happy company.

That’s entertainment

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”

Fellow comic Steve Martin offered a similar sentiment, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

While there’s a lot of competitors out there vying for your customers’ attention every day, not all of them are doing it well.

“Companies need to generate simpler messages, communicated in a sharper way and of course they need to adapt those messages to each context - making them more visual, emotional and engaging,“ said Mateos, noting that a great way to achieve this is with humor or an emotional appeal.

Entertainment, emotion and engagement all go hand in hand. The most engaging dramas - be they cinematic, theatrical or literary - tend to be predicated on some sort of emotional rollercoaster that turns from scene to scene: love/hate, up/down, or problem/resolution.

Effective marketing will stand out if it elicits the right emotions for your target market.

Don’t give up

Just because your campaign didn’t hit home on the first try doesn’t mean it’s not working on a different level. Some believe your average consumer needs to see your message seven times before they take action, while others estimate that number could be as high as 20.

Mateos understands the importance of a consistent message delivered through strategies such as drip marketing (a series of pre-written emails scheduled weekly, for example).

“Repeated messages and frequently retrieved information will generate a strong footprint which is easier for consumers to access in the future. But the message needs to be relevant and engaging,” he said.

This by no means suggests we should be cranking out mediocre content and spamming our customers’ inboxes. Plan your content strategy deliberately and give the people what they want while keeping it relevant to them and your brand.

Only then will you earn yourself a slightly larger slice of the attention pie


Jaime Veiga Mateos is the academic director of the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior at IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, which combines consumer psychology with research & analytics in a strategic business context. A program built around the needs of industry recruiters. Discover how you can become a professional with impact at www.ie.edu/mrcb or call +34 91 56896 00 for more information.


Recommended For You:
What Marketers Must Do to Win Consumers' Dwindling Attention One Writer Explored the Marketing Science Behind Clickbait. You’ll Never Believe What She Found Out. Gain a Global Perspective at AMA Events

What Marketers Must Do to Win Consumers' Dwindling Attention

One Writer Explored the Marketing Science Behind Clickbait. You’ll Never Believe What She Found Out.

Learn Best Practices at AMA Events



 

 Sign Up for Marketing News Weekly

 
Get the best marketing thought leadership delivered directly to your inbox!



Author Bio:

https://auth.ama.org/PublishingImages/ie-school-human-sciences-logo.png
Joshua Saxon
<p>IE School of Human Sciences & Technology offers undergraduate & postgraduate programs in Madrid and Segovia, Spain. All programs are taught in English.</p> <p>Jaime Veiga Mateos is the academic director of the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior at IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, which combines consumer psychology with research & analytics in a strategic business context. A program built around the needs of industry recruiters. Discover how you can become a professional with impact at www.ie.edu/mrcb or call +34 91 56896 00 for more information.</p>
Add A Comment :
 

Become a Member
Access our innovative members-only resources and tools to further your marketing practice.