Business to Business Online Expos

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Today’s Consumer Has the Attention Span of a Gnat

phonelookI kid you not–after I got the idea to write on this subject, I typed the title that you see above. At the same time, a song that I like began playing at my desk.  It captured me for a minute and the subject matter got me thinking about things in my life that related to the song. Five minutes later, I looked up at the screen and said, “oh yeah, I’m supposed to be writing about keeping consumer attention.”

True story.  I lost my own attention.  That’s how bad things have gotten with this society.  We can’t even keep ourselves interested in our own interests.

Remember this when you’re presenting your business or product to others. Generations of yesteryear grew up reading books, appreciating seminars and dissertations.  Audiences of today want you to get to the point fast, fun and easy to comprehend.  Whether you’re one on one, presenting to large groups, making a video or a post for social media, the same rule applies–wow ’em quick!

My good friend, Phoebe Chongchua from The Brand Journalism Advantage published a post called “Knowledge Can Hurt Business and What To Do About It.” Being a former news reporter herself, Phoebe gives a lot of advice that incorporates techniques from her news days. Great pointers that will work for your business of today.

For instance, in relation to keeping consumer attention she wrote, “The solution to creating content that’s informative and influential is to Think Like A Journalist…more specifically, a Brand Journalist. TV News journalists typically have about 90 seconds to tell a story. It doesn’t matter if that story is complicated or extremely basic. News shows are arranged to change stories quickly and keep viewers’ attention so they don’t change the channel. A TV reporter needs to be able to summarize the story, include interviews from sources, and deliver it succinctly. A brand journalist uses these same skills to help companies create messages that stick. Once you Think Like A Journalist, you then have to produce content using the same techniques that reporters use to capture attention and draw news viewers into the newscast.”

That’s great advice.  Think about it.  A good news writer can put together a tease at the top of the hour that keeps you watching the news, even if you planned on doing something else.  Oh c’mon.  Admit it.  The desk anchor on your favorite channel got you to stop pressing buttons on your remote when he announced, “Coming up…a family’s hero dog carries baby out of a burning building.”  You waited through the bad news. You hung in there through the weather.  You suffered through a boring sports day and the final commercial break that ended at :28 minutes into the hour.

How was the story?  It sucked.  It turned out to be about a dog trainer that uses baby dolls to teach rescue skills to K-9s.  You got duped.  You felt like you just wasted 30 minutes of your life.  But guess what?  You will do it again, if you haven’t already–because these folks are good.  They have mastered the art of engagement.  They can turn an average story into something fun and exciting.

That’s where you need to be when talking about your business or product.

Remember, even if your product is something that fills a needed niche’ in people’s lives, most people will never be as fired up about it as you are.  It’s your baby.  You’re passionate about it.  Understandable.  But you’re going to have to be creative when trying to generate that same level of excitement with your potential customers.

Another thing you need to consider is where consumers put their limited attention on a daily basis.

In America (and a good part of the world), people spend more time on their phones then they do with their family.  It’s a device that they use from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep.  Social media, cool apps and practical programs that help make modern life a little easier is a sure fire way to reach people.

Have you considered how you may be able to use devices to share whatever it is you’re trying to share?  I’m not talking about signing up for Facebook and boring people with news about your business.  I’m talking about getting your business involved creatively in their life.

In the next few days, I’m going to put together a list of Tech Tid-Bits that will Help Reach Your Consumers.  It will be a list of alternative ideas you may not have thought of that you can incorporate into your company’s marketing plan or pitch approach.

I thought about included them in this post, but I fear that I may already be losing your attention!  🙂