Microsoft found that “people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.” What's more, venture capitalist Mary Meeker reported that even TV is not enough to keep our attention, as roughly 88 percent of Americans use a second device, such as a phone or tablet, while watching TV.
The proliferation of technology, boosted by better connectivity and faster speeds, has conditioned us to live life in a constant “channel surf” between devices, content formats and real-world and virtual dialogues. Our focus has deteriorated at such a torrid pace that even Ten-Second Tom would feel out of place.
As a marketer, this means you must rethink and reframe everything through the lenses of the new three P’s: pithy, precious and prudent. The four P’s (product, place, price, promotion) that you grew up with are dead. Here is how to keep up with the consumers of today and tomorrow:
Everything you communicate should be concise and meaningful. The best marketing moments are often intuitive and require no thought. A goal of your user experience/interface (UX/UI) strategy should be to remove clicks, minimize scrolls and make the experience blazing fast. We must provide the information the user is looking for and nothing more.
Historically, brand websites have done such a poor job of this that Google My Business has emerged as the new gold standard for basic business information. And this is just one example of how brands are not moving fast enough, ceding yet more control to and fostering more dependence on the already 800-pound gorilla.
Additionally, textual content should be more scannable than ever before. Assume that no one will read everything, and lead your narrative with the most important and impactful information. Few people will stick around for the punch line, so embrace and master short-form content. The luxuries of 30-second storytelling are quickly being abandoned for the 15- and six-second video.
If whatever you are offering or selling your target audience isn’t likely to be highly valued, your work as a marketer will be met with exponentially stronger headwinds. Conversely, if your product or service is highly valued, people will gladly do your marketing for you free of charge using social media. They’ll view your brand as an extension of their identity and a badge of honor to be worn proudly. Consumers’ amplification of your story will not only save you money, but user-generated content (UGC) is likely to be more effective than your paid marketing.
So, how do you know if consumers value what you're selling? A great place to start is by gathering all of the free intel that exists online in the form of customer reviews and testimonials. What does Google Trends have to say about your product or service? What is the conversation and sentiment on various social channels?
When surveying your customers, ask them how likely they are to refer your product or service to a friend. This question garners some of the most authentic feedback. As consumers, we purchase things that may be good enough for us, but not good enough to refer to a friend or to put our stamp of approval on. But if a customer is willing to stand behind the product, that means they are truly satisfied.
Mirriam-Webster will tell you that prudence is skill and good judgment in the use of resources. As a marketer and a consumer, I will tell you this is an equation in which your object is to foment the most perceived value for the least perceived risk. Value, not price wins here.
Value can be delivered by brands in terms that don’t erode margin and create more brand satisfaction and loyalty -- think free shipping and returns, 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee, meaningful loyalty programs, superior customer service and great digital experiences.
Despite the time we may want consumers to give us, brands only have a few seconds to connect. And as long as technology necessitates moving faster, better and smarter, marketers will need to embrace these three P’s and reframe their initiatives from a reductionist viewpoint.