How Do You Appeal to the Distracted Buyer?

by Michelle McGinnis on Friday, March 30, 2012 in Content Marketing

Here’s the good news: people are consuming more content on a daily basis than ever.

Here’s the bad news: they seem to be consuming it all at once.

The amount of time we spend in front of the TV, the computer, our mobile devices – it’s all going up. According to recent eMarketer data, adults in the US consume an average of 11 hours of media in a day, with the largest shares going to TV, video and online.

Marketers should be happy that consumers are so content hungry. But the implication is that most of us are taking in content from multiple sources all at once. We’re scanning through our phone while working on our laptop. We’re playing with our iPads while watching TV.

We are, according to eMarketer’s own analysis, multitasking.

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That creates different challenges for marketers: first is standing out in the crowd. Secondly, marketers need to assume their reader, viewer or listener is distracted. If they’re reading your newsletter, they’re probably doing something else, too.

Marketers need to assume that anytime a buyer is checking out your content, they’re probably reading or watching something else at the same time, said Tom Martin, who runs the marketing consulting company Converse Digital.

If you need inspiration on how to deal with that situation, take a look at radio, Martin said.

“Radio advertisers have always had to deal with this challenge,” he said. “Radio has long been a secondary form of media.”

Next time you're listening to the radio in the car or while working at your desk, consider which ads are getting through and sticking with you.

It might take ethnographic research to determine where different aspects of content marketing lands, whether it’s in the background or foreground of the buyer’s experience.

Interestingly, the email inbox may be one of quieter mediums for reaching buyers, Martin argued, since advanced SPAM filtering and the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe gives us the ability to prune our experience. “The human brain has enormous capacity to filter the irrelevant to focus on the relevant,” Martin said.

But absent the more granular detail, what hasn’t changed is the need for relevance. The better you know the needs and interests of the person, the more likely your message will be retained, whether it comes through TV, email, social media, etc.

“The human brain has enormous capacity to filter the irrelevant to focus on the relevant,” Martin said. “Your brain consumes thousands of messages a day and remember either none or a handful.”

What are your strategies for cutting through the noise? How do you appeal to distracted buyers?

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