Tick, Tock: Capturing the Attention of Your Distracted Consumer

sean_shoffstallThe following is a guest contributed post from Sean Shoffstall, Vice President of Innovation and Strategy at Teradata Marketing Applications.

In the latest comScore study, results showed that an average of 5.3 trillion ads were shown to consumers in the span of a year, but only three out of 10 were ever seen. That number has only grown as consumers receive a barrage of messages daily. Cutting through that noise is becoming nearly impossible. Couple that with the fact that a recent study by Microsoft Corporation has found our digital lifestyle has made it difficult for us to stay focused (with the human attention span shortening from 12 seconds to eight seconds over the last decade) and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a distracted disaster.

The evolution of marketing has accelerated not only because of shortened attention spans, but also because of the Millennial Generation and its penchant for mobile and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Vine – the popular mobile phone app that plays entertaining six-second videos.

The way we consume news is as brief as we’ve ever seen it; even the rare full-length article these days is accompanied by a sidebar providing a concise overview of the story. Marketers have a lot to say, so how do we say it all in such a short window?

According to a report from Rosetta Consulting, customers switch platforms up to 27 times an hour, yet they demand relevance and coherence in every interaction with a brand. In order to win in this new digital arena, brands must build relationships with their customers and deliver great experiences across channels.

But how do you create engagement, rather than a single interaction?

Be Creative

The desire for exciting visuals and shareable pieces of content has never been greater. The days of email marketing are becoming obsolete and other forms of archaic marketing strategies are on their way out as well. Marketers have to be punchy, witty, quick and impactful all within a certain time constraint and platform.

There’s no escape from bad design. Consumers don’t excuse outdated, sloppy, generic and cheap content anymore. They’re intrigued by engaging content like bolded words or beautiful photography. It’s imperative to be crisp, clear and descriptive in the messages we share and the visual nature of the words themselves in order to create engagement.

Distill, Distill, Distill

Marketers need to distill and fit into the snackable moment that the customer is willing to take. The message and delivery has to be relevant, quick, and get to the core of the message. Not only that, but true value comes when the consumer considers engaging with the content.

Think about the industry you’re marketing to, as well. The message and the way it’s displayed is different for the financial services industry than for the retail market. It has to be both brand and consumer relevant, and succinct and relevant to the channel.

Be Flexible, Yet Authentic

A big mistake marketers make is pushing the same piece of content across different channels. For example, one message in Instagram is going to look and feel completely different than a message in LinkedIn. Even though the core nugget of the message is the same, the consumer expects flexibility across channels. IT has to be flexible enough to meet those expectations. We’re all real people and we’re going to have different conversations in different contexts on different channels, and marketing is no different. That being said, make sure you’re being authentic to your brand. If you’re trying too hard to create content on a channel that doesn’t align with the overall brand feel, your consumer will notice.

Bottom line? Make sure your content is relevant to that consumer and the channel they’re using is as well. And above all, make sure whatever is created and deployed is clever and catchy. You need to create the moment in order to catch the moment.