Interrupting a person when they are busy talking, is rude. The person talking feels like what they are saying is less important than what you have to say. It disregards the other person.
No one likes to be interrupted. But, for decades, we have allowed brands to interrupt us without giving it too much thought. We are interrupted while we are watching TV, while we are listening to the radio, and those billboards are screaming for our attention while we are driving, and what about those telesales calls at all hours? Marketers have had to innovate to find new ways of capturing the consumers attention, as the clutter increases.
We have gone from being exposed to around 500 advertisements a day in the 70s, to between 5000 and 10000 brand messages a day in 2017!
And, it’s getting noisier.
People are spending more time away from home, and away from their TV. Marketers have responded by bringing the TV to the people. At the checkout point in the supermarket, at shopping malls, the movies, at garage forecourts and to a larger extent, your computer and mobile device. According to Joshua Saxon of IE School of Human Sciences & Technology (Why Your Customers’ Attention is the Scarcest Resource in 2017), people switch from one screen to another up to 21 times an hour.
The internet has changed how we behave as consumers. We have gone from reading books, to skimming a few websites on the internet. If we don’t find what we are looking for within a few seconds, we move on to the next site. According to a recent study done by Microsoft, the average person’s attention span is now eight seconds.
Attention is now the marketers most valuable asset.
In 1999, 20 years ago, Seth Godin published the book Permission Marketing. He presented the argument that people’s attention is the most valuable asset to marketers. Seth’s definition of Permission Marketing requires that the message be:
- Anticipated – people look forward to hearing from you
- Personal – the messages are directly related to the individual
- Relevant – the marketing is about something that interests the person
As a marketer, and a human being, we have to understand that people’s attention is precious. And their attention is to be treated with respect. But, permission only happens when trust has been established. Brands held the power in the past, today, consumers have the power to control what they see, and what they ‘tune-out.’
For marketers the challenge is to figure out how to cut through the clutter. And doing so in a manner that doesn’t upset the very person you are trying to attract. It is not advertising that consumers are ‘tuning-out’ from, it’s bad advertising. Content that is honest, helpful, entertaining and engaging, will always ring true with a prospect.
But, when someone is expecting to hear from you and the message is personal and relevant, trust grows.
Receiving permission to interrupt someone is a privilege, don’t waste it by being less than human.
(* You are welcome to drop me a mail firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you.)