How Social CRM Helps to Attract Attention in an Attention Economy - dummies

How Social CRM Helps to Attract Attention in an Attention Economy

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

Attracting attention can be tough, but Social CRM has some good insights to offer. In the 1970s, psychologist Herbert A. Simon coined the term attention economy, the idea that human attention is a scarce commodity in a world overflowing with information.

In the early 21st century, the term has become popular because information available on the web is only increasing. Thus, web users have much more to choose from. Many technologies and software developments strive to identify factors that may lose a user’s attention. Here are some identifying factors:

  • Time spent on a site

  • Ease of navigation

  • Time to navigate the site

  • Application download times

Information needs to be easy for users to find. Users move on to the next resource available to them if they can’t locate information quickly and easily through any given application or platform. More importantly, once users find the information, it needs to be relevant. Plenty of other resources stand ready, willing, and able to capture users’ attention.

The more information that flows into cyberspace, the harder it is to grab anyone’s attention. In a day, consumers make more decisions about where they’ll direct their attention than they do regarding where they’ll spend money. Attention economy addresses issues that surround getting a piece of the attention pie. These issues affect enterprise-level businesses as well as news sources, retailers, medical professionals, anyone who has a message to share.

Discover the past marketing economy

Grabbing customer’s attention isn’t a new concept to marketing and advertising. However, the way you actually capture attention has evolved greatly. In the past, billboard ads were enough to earn consumers’ attention. Marketing 1.0 (the old way of marketing) was comprised of push techniques: push outbound messages, and then push some more.

The Golden Age of Advertising of the 1960s gave life to biased advertisements that were carefully crafted to tell consumers what they wanted. The cable network hit show Mad Men gives viewers attractive images and a glimpse back to times when men sat around a boardroom table and determined how to lure consumers to a brand. A witty and clever message was enough to market a product or service.

Redefine attention in the new economy

In the new economy, attention is a commodity. Nearly anywhere you go online, advertisements greet and follow you. Newsfeeds, search engines, and e-mail providers sell advertising space. All these ads are competing for your customer’s attention amidst personal messages, business-critical searches, and newsworthy posts.

Users, in many instances, must give brands permission to connect with them digitally. Chances are people don’t want to be immediately sold once they’ve given that permission. You’ve got to earn their trust, and their continued attention. By keeping their attention with useful and relevant information, you’ll also earn the right to ask them for a sale or transaction.

As your business proceeds gradually into social engagement and data collection, be cautious about how your business interprets that data. Consumers’ online behaviors — clicking, bookmarking, and so on — is of great value to marketers.

However, the information that’s collected can be interpreted in different ways. For example, any personal Gmail account is riddled with advertisements, many of which users never click through. One of this book’s authors noticed that skid steer attachment advertisements appeared every day in her account as she was e-mailing back and forth with a client regarding skid steer attachments. She wasn’t in the market for a grapple or snow blower.

However, it’s easy to see how a marketer could make that assumption. It’s a logical leap, and one that’s fine-tuned every day to ensure more targeted, relevant ads are delivered to the right audience online.

To refine the way your business competes for attention, remember that your approach must offer the customer relevancy, permission, and trust to gain any engagement, not just visibility. The following list explains each component of capturing consumers’ attention:

  • Relevancy: Your messages have to be delivered to the right audience, in the right context. You may have an awesome new product to share, but it won’t matter to a significant portion of audiences. You have to imagine consumers asking, “What’s this have to do with me?”

    Through community-building and conversations with your customers, you start to learn how to deliver relevant messages to the right people. Consider the many facets of your customers — such as consumer, professional, mother, father, book lover, race car fan, and so on. Dig into the layers to find out what really motivates them.

  • Permission: No one wants to feel locked into a brand, especially if they’re just starting to explore it and haven’t truly engaged with it yet. Be clear about what type of relationship potential customers are getting into with you. Asking for permission to share your messaging leads to the next key element: trust.

  • Trust: Users want to know how their attention will be used. Be transparent and upfront with them. People want to be able to change their minds on how they give their attention. Give them options and the flexibility to change their preferences.