How to grab customers’ attention

By newbusiness
Created 26/03/2008 - 02:09

With consumers bombarded by marketing messages from multiple channels, getting your message across to potential customers has never been more important or difficult.

So much so, in fact, that business analysts have coined the phrase ‘attention economics' to define a situation where consumers face such a deluge of information that they automatically ignore the vast majority.

According to David Jeffries, marketing communications director at Pitney Bowes, this has resulted in consumers gaining far greater power over the information they receive and the ability to damage the brand of a company they feel has gone too far.

"Communication has transformed from a push method, where businesses dictate the feed of information, to a pull model, where consumers have far more power in determining what reaches them, and what doesn't," he said. "Advertising and marketing hasn't disappeared and people remain open to offers and campaigns.

"But the sheer noise of information from such an abundance of channels and touchpoints means messages face being ignored, swamped by the competition or, worse still, irritating the recipient to such an extent that the latest channels are used to vent frustration at the brand concerned."

Pitney Bowes offers the following tips for SMEs attempting to command consumer attention:

Know your audience
Undoubtedly, many companies have wasted significant sums by targeting the wrong channels and chasing an audience that simply doesn't exist for them, or only exists via other routes. But the more astute businesses are learning to negotiate this maze of options in a planned and progressive fashion

Channel integration
If multiple channels are used, it is imperative that the infrastructure is in place to handle the variety of responses and queries that will result. Consumers used to the instantaneous nature of the web will not appreciate delayed answers or time-lagged service. Conversely, those used to corresponding via more traditional media will react negatively to being rushed and harried

Consistency of message
Consistency across channels is vital. This is not to say that certain channels cannot be incentivised with different offers. But the tone of message, the style and design must be familiar across all touchpoints if brand recognition and message recollection are to be heightened

The sheer noise of information from such an abundance of channels and touchpoints means messages face being ignored, swamped by the competition or, worse still, irritating the recipient

Know your limits
Businesses must avoid falling into the trap of assuming that capturing attention is the ultimate goal. There is both negative and positive attention and those companies attempting to be all things to all people by embracing the latest communication media can end up looking out of touch and desperate. Again, get it wrong and infamy via the blogosphere awaits

Somewhat ironically, businesses are finding that traditional methods such as direct mail and brand advertising remain the most effective way of attracting people to web-based products or services. Indeed, the relationship between the channels is interesting to observe. The early days of the internet heralded all-singing, all-dancing sites that used every conceivable trick and graphical device in a bid to attract attention. As the channel matures, so sites have become subtler, cleaner, quick and simple to read and digest, like the very best direct mail

Relevancy and timeliness
The attention economy demands relevancy and timeliness. The multi-channel approach can be highly effective but in order to hit home messages must be targeted and timed to land at the apposite moment. Consumers will be truly enthused by well thought-out messages that treat them as valued individuals and talk to them in language that is timely and pertinent

Data accuracy
As ever, data accuracy is the key, and any half-measures at the data management and analysis stage will quickly become apparent in the final message. The temptation for many is to concentrate on message content and design. But it is the process of message creation and delivery - the infrastructure of response-handling - that is of critical importance. These processes are the mechanics behind the face of the brand

For more information see www.pb.com/uk [1]

Source URL: