Attention is one of our more important resources we have left. But as a culture, we have not yet started treating it as essential as time. Attention can be garnered in a multitude of ways: bright colors, billboards, attractive people, cute dogs (and ugly dogs), notifications, emails, tv ads, and newspaper articles. While evaluating these multitudes of ways, one should also consider whose attention you are trying to gain and at what cost.
Gathering attention and reselling it is the principle that media companies are based on. Facebook isn’t the product, we are. Facebook gathers our attention by showing us things we think are interesting and fostering a sense of community with people we may not see every day. We are the product because it sells our attention to advertisers. Newspapers gather attention by producing journalism and then sell that attention for advertising. I think that having an app will be standard in the future because the ability to have push notifications on the consumer’s device/watch/glasses/other wearable technology will be a key attention-getter in a noisy world (call our friends at Sodium Halogen https://www.sodiumhalogen.com/ for custom app development).
The cost of gaining attention has never been lower which means that we as a culture are more distracted than ever. As a result, it can make it harder to get good attention from your audience (it’s a painful cycle). We should think about the cost of each medium we are trying to use to get attention. Right now, the most affordable methods of getting attention are generally digital. There will come a day when the cost of digital ads will rise and the cost of traditional advertising will slide down. Because of the current state of prices, we almost never recommend our clients purchase traditional advertising. There will be a day when the cost of the traditional advertising has dropped enough to make it competitive with digital again. It is important to remember: Marketing is about attention, not necessarily the platform of how we get that attention.
It is also important to consider whose attention you want. Understanding your customer is crucial to getting the right attention. If you primarily sell hemorrhoid cream to senior citizens, the attention that a tiktok influencer gathers is probably not the attention you want to pay for. Study: Who buys our product/service? What are they paying attention to? What do they find valuable? How do we talk to them and get their attention? We will talk more about this later in this chapter.
An additional cost of garnering attention is the cost of trust or social capital. We can see this most clearly with “click bait” headlines online. If we do something extremely bold to gain attention and do not back it up with value, we will erode the trust that our audience has with us. The only exception to this rule seems to be state and national level party politics. You can see this in email marketing as well. If you subscribe to an email list and it proves to be annoying, you do not continue to open those emails. Also, as a society, companies continue to push the edges further and further to get and keep attention. There is an atrophying of the minimum level of excitement required to get and keep attention. This is a cost we and all of our children will pay for.
This blog post is a portion of Attention and Action. The book walks you through the marketing process that Adelsberger Marketing follows with its clients. You can read this book for free as a blog on the Adelsberger Marketing website or purchase on Amazon.com.