Pull them in without pushing them away

Because of how the marketing landscape has changed over the past few years, it should be a no-brainer that the marketing materials you are creating should also change, right? But yet, we continue to see it.

So much copy… is it an ad or an editorial? So many focal points… where do I look? I don’t.

From the perspective of the offending brand, it’s understandable: “With only one shot to sell your brand, sell everything at once.” And although reasonable, at a glance it’s ignoring a very valuable part of the equation: Today’s consumer doesn’t have the time (nor the attention span) for a 20-second pitch.

He who does not remember his past is destined to repeat it

To set it all up, it’s important to start with something I just said — the marketing landscape has changed. In the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s – even the 90’s – people were exposed to a few hundred ad messages a day, so to place your whole selling proposition, your deal, your product photos, your contact info and a photo of your pet into everything you cranked out made sense. People had time to read it so why not?

However, today’s average consumer is exposed to between 3,000-5,000 advertising messages per day… (yes, per day) so time isn’t something they’re willing to give freely. Especially for something they haven’t sought out themselves. In fact, oftentimes when they see ads running in the same place for an extended period of time, they biologically stop seeing them. (See: Habituation / Banner Blindness) which makes it necessary for you to vary your media (and your messages).

OK… so people focus less and they do so while having to spread their focus among a larger sample area, and while this seems daunting, the trick is to play upon these insights. If you leverage these facts correctly you’ll be able to:

  • Get people’s attention, even through the noise
  • Stop trying to control the information intake, and embrace the manipulation of the flow
  • Open your channels to allow people to enter this flow from more entry points
  • Use this flow to offer useable, sought-out information in consumable increments, as desired
  • Sell more.

How to Inspire Intrigue, Not Seizures

The short introduction to this requires a complete overhaul of everything you know about marketing.
Don’t give people information… offer it to them. Make it their choice as to how far into the information they get. Offer different levels of information in digestible chunks that they can peruse at their leisure, not yours. (Information that is sought is far more attractive than information that is mandated)

If you split your information into a variety of media — each with its own clear signal of how to proceed to the next portion of information — you will not only play to the short attention span of your viewers, but you will empower them to seek further information as desired. This will not only avoid overwhelming them with information, but will make them care more as they are now SEEKING your message, not being inundated with it involuntarily.

If an ad falls in the media and there’s no one there to see it, does it make a sound?

It’s clear that in order to start the process, your message (or any part of it for that matter), needs to be seen. And it’s almost entirely as easy as this:

Do something different.
Creativity goes a long way… and it can go in an infinite number of directions. Maybe you say something unexpected. Maybe you say something controversial. Maybe you don’t say anything at all but instead show an image of something unexpected. Maybe you show nothing and then very small in a corner say something witty… the possibilities are endless. It’s important to remember and accept that oftentimes in order for creativity to be achieved you must use less information overall in order to have sufficient space for attention to be gained, and that’s OK, because…

You can use the endless amount of media available to your advantage, by incorporating the information in other places
Just because you didn’t put all the information in your ad/banner/billboard/etc., doesn’t mean that people won’t have access to it. It also does not follow naturally that if you tell them nothing, they will know nothing. If your advertising strategy is well thought out and pays attention to the grand scheme, you can conceivably offer MORE information than you could ever offer in a single ad. And what’s more, it can be achieved with less impressions OR with even less budget.

For example, view the visual below

As stated earlier, the other beautiful part about diversifying your media is that you offer more inroads to more people in the long run as well, that will ultimately lead them back to your homepage and to a purchase. A person who missed your magazine ad with a link to your website, would now be exposed to it through your Facebook page via your contest which he or she found out about on Twitter. Or conversely, a person who missed you on Facebook or Twitter will now link to your website via a web banner that leads to a landing page which entices them to conduct a transaction. I would say it’s a win/win.

In today’s modern, short-attention-spanned marketing arena… too much “in-your-face-all-at-once” info is overlooked or ignored in lieu of time needed to digest the millions of other things vying for attention simultaneously. The solution to this is spreading your information, your sales propositions, your offers and discounts across a wider, more diverse set of media thereby not overwhelming the viewer, and by leaving the discovery of that information up to the users’ desire to receive it based on appeal and relevancy. They will have a deeper experience with the brand, and will care more about the information they receive because they chose to seek it, it wasn’t forced down their throats.