Share of attention

For many years, companies focused on gaining share in a broadly defined market. Corporate mission statements often included phrases such as “become the undisputed leader” or “be recognized as the leading provider of X.” If you were General Electric you would exit a business segment if you could not obtain the #1 market share position (or at least a strong #2 spot).

Over time, some companies became increasingly customer-centric and started to identify more tightly defined target customer segments. Their focus became growing “share of wallet” to become their customers most preferred source of whatever it was they were selling.

While these notions remain important, a new concept is emerging, and while more difficult to measure, it is essential that brand leaders and marketers embrace it.  I call it “share of attention.”

Consumers are faced with more and more demands for their time and attention. The literal and virtual mountain of e-mails, text messages, direct mail, billboards, banner ads and TV and radio advertising isn’t going away any time soon. The more time people spend on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites interacting with their “friends”,  the less likely they are to engage with you and whatever it is you are selling. Yes, there is an app for that, but it’s fighting to be used with all the other apps on your customers’ smart phone or tablet.

As Seth pointed out way back in 1998, “Permission Marketing” is almost always superior to “Interruption Marketing”, but now it’s harder and harder to even get noticed–much less start building a relationship–in the growing omni-channel Blur.

The first step in building a “share of attention” growth strategy is to accept that without your customers’ attention you cannot begin to engage with them. And without engagement there is no chance to build a relationship, much less sell anything. The second step is to understand what captures your customers’ attention and why? Without awareness and insight there can be no action.

So now do I have your attention?

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