Bitcoin, a virtual currency created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, may dominate news headlines, yet there is a currency far more valuable and elusive circulating throughout international commerce. Like Bitcoins, this new instrument is not printed on paper or minted in metal. It is the currency of attention, which is becoming highly sought after by companies of all sizes as they explore angles to capture more of it.
Without attention being spent by customers on advertising, marketing, and promotional efforts, a lot of real money and human labor is wasted. Advertising agencies have shifted en masse to the online arena, with websites reaching in every imaginable way to entice visitors to stick around for a few clicks or, hopefully – entire minutes.
Granted, online marketing is an efficient way to comb and categorize the interests and past habits of users. However as the online web platform remains flat and rectangular, i.e. a flat-panel display, it seems no matter how clever the message, that form of communication boils down to a small interactive picture with sound. And often the message delivery occurs within a larger space such an office, kitchen or coffee shop, where visual, aural, and at times emotional distractions dilute or completely divert precious attention.
Before continuing, I want to explore the financial efficiency of various forms of message communication. Aside from online, the most cost effective messaging medium is an outdoor billboard, not a smart device. According to Roy H. Williams of the Wizard of Ads agency in Austin, TX, outdoor billboard advertising effectively reaches more people per dollar compared to the next best medium of radio. After radio, cable and broadcast television, newspapers, magazines and direct mail fall away in their ‘stickiness’ – or ability to capture and hold potential customer attention. Interesting –- a physical surface on a pole with a maximum of eight words wins the race. A basic $15,000 billboard.
A relaxed state of mind enables greater message retention
On disconnecting from their digital device, with its average of 5,000 daily incoming messages, a person returning to the physical world tends to relax – even during a commute. Their brain waves adjust from beta, with peak concentration and razor-sharp focus, to an alpha state of awareness, creativity, and reduction of fear. So the physical experience of driving home and observing a passing billboard may surpass most of the websites the same individual sees every day in terms of message retention. For marketers, message retention is golden.
Consider the same driver pulls off at the mall to purchase a gift for their significant other. Will they recall the 3,906th banner ad viewed five hours earlier and order on their smartphone, or be emotionally attracted to a warmly illuminated store display where birds dimensionally chirp amidst rustling trees? As fond childhood memories of walking through a forest emerge, this person feels emotional engagement with the message and product, deciding to purchase from the display.
The hypothetical scenario above represents the difference between aggression vs. attraction messaging. Attraction branding resonates attractive ideas to pull (engage) rather than push (sell). As the Attention Economy gains momentum, statisticians are observing shifts in messaging effectiveness.
- 63% of customers are likely to consider a brand from a mobile ad
- 70% of customers are likely to consider a brand from a desktop computer ad
- 84% of customers are likely to consider a brand from their own experience
Word-of-mouth referrals may unofficially top the list as real-time Tweeters notify their trusted pipeline of friends, family members, and colleagues. When a person is having a great experience, they often tweet about it, costing the experience provider nothing – while generating urgency in the recipient. This is a great example of technology facilitating rather than forcing.
Real-time is a key area where marketing is evolving, and where leading experience companies such as Starbucks, the Virgin Group, Nordstrom, Apple, and, of course, Disney continue to direct their attention, design research, and investment dollars. With same-day delivery, leading retailers such as Amazon and Walmart recognize the attractive value in bringing brick-and-mortar convenience to online shopping. The physical experience of quickly receiving an order blurs the line between electronic and walk-in shopping.
Attractively capturing attention is how nature works as the flower welcomes the bee. Successful companies are discovering what nature has known all along; make the offer sweet, colorful, and in-the-moment.
Focus attention through a real experience, then enjoy the golden honey.