a bigger challenge than impressing a goldfish

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages every day, whether it’s via our work activities or downtime at home. It's a widely quoted figure that people come into contact with at least 5,000 brand messages a day.

Our attention span isn’t getting bigger.

Probably not a huge surprise to you: but do you know just how short it’s reported to have become? In 2000, the average human attention span was 12 seconds. Today, it’s estimated at just 8 seconds (and for males, make that 6 seconds).

That’s actually less than that of a goldfish.

5,000 attempted hits

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages every day, whether it’s via our work activities or downtime at home. It’s a widely quoted figure that people come into contact with at least 5,000 brand messages a day. But we simply don’t have the capacity to process and act on all of that information.

So it comes down to finding a way to cut through, to disrupt, to make an impression. In a matter of seconds. Fail to do that, and the potential customer is lost.

The difference between hearing and listening

Bill Bernbach, a Manhattan advertising creative director from the late 1940s onwards, said, “You can’t sell (to) a man who isn’t listening.”

And he was right. You may have a lot to say about your product, plenty to explain about your service. Your product might benefit the customer in all sorts of ways; you may feel the need to go into detail about how your widget offers value for money.

But there isn’t the time for a list of bullet points, or for well constructed, persuasive text or script. There’ll be plenty of time for that, but not necessarily now.

Attention!

Now is the time grab someone’s attention. That’s your job in the first place. Keep it simple. Keep it quick. Stop people in their tracks. Make it engaging.

Once you’ve done that, you can start working on being brilliantly persuasive.

Think ‘goldfish’.

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