Think about a current generation who has no experience or knowledge of a time without web-based business and internet marketing.
There is no longer a star on Madison Avenue ad agencies; stars are replaced by apps, software, bots, and social media strategists. The creative department who fashioned compelling ad copy and melodious jingles now belongs to a freelancer working from a coffee shop table instead of an office with a communal break room. Current marketing executives have no idea, nor can they appreciate, the “Mad Men” mentality of advertising and marketing products.
Information manipulation has always been key to filtering features, advantages, and benefits, but how much can be consumed in the digital age without devices exploding? We are at precisely the flashpoint when attention becomes the valued commodity instead of the product.
The last 20 years brought forth an attention economy where intangibles like brand loyalty, authenticity, and engagement are just as important as the tangible object or service—the value placed on rising above the noise while trying to convert to sales the individual consumer.
The manipulation of our attention also leads to much more in the social-psychological interaction of online marketing. As a society that is continuously in front of a screen and always connected, we’ve become attention addicted. We have propagated an era where there is angst over how many followers and views we have and how the next photo will look when posted. The screen is the window to the outside world and projects back how the outside world pays attention.
When a half million followers are not enough to move the needle forward for a business or individual, we have failed to grab their attention successfully and have lost potential business.
Information overload is like a cycle of consumers searching and comparing, searching and comparing, and becoming paralyzed in the decision-making process. The audience that is filtering information feeds their attention addiction by sifting through the latest dope, looking for instant gratification and the best deal.
Attention addiction comes in many forms. Consider how many tabs or apps are open on multiple devices at any given moment and how easily you can switch back and forth between them as notifications come through. We multitask and spend hours checking emails, scrolling the Facebook feed, or sharing a tweet. As I write this article, I’ve read two blog posts, a news story, sent an email, responded to an email, replied to a Facebook comment, and fed my dog! Yes, I’m an addict, too!
So, what is the solution to reaching potential customers who are addicted to attention? It’s not always about creating more and longer content for them to consume, but rather where the content resides in social media networking platforms. If you know where your audience lives in their online life and show up with something that will be appealing and geared towards guiding them to more, you are likely to grab their attention long enough to get them into your sales funnel.
Better yet, how can we stop the cycle of attention addiction?
Experts teach marketers how to use advanced technology to target the best potential customers and create content to reach them. However, as the world snowballs into information and digital overload, perhaps we should study human beings’ cyclical nature. It’s human nature to rush towards the newest ideas and technology as it promises to fulfill our dreams and desires, but once we hit the wall, we either move on or move back to a place that gave us comfort.
Where do we meet our customers at this stage of the cycle? We either need to be in the place they “move on” to or be a part of their comfort zone. It’s a decision many business owners and freelancers will need to face several times during an addiction economy and on into the future of doing business.
I would love to hear your take on the addiction economy and how you are changing to accommodate your business! Please comment, and let’s discuss!