Attention Economy 2021

Dealing with Attention Economy in 2021


Pay Attention.

Pay For Attention.

Attention Economy.

Attention Is Scarce.

Value Attention.

Some of the lines I speak and hear quite often at work and home. The challenge is the same across both spectrums of my life – attracting the attention of my target audience. 

At home, the target audience being the spouse and the child. And goal being making them listen to me at one go. This isn’t easy, at least in my household! Especially with the spouse. So, when I see my spouse reacting to the child not paying attention. I try to remind him of a simple rule. If you want the child to listen to you when you talk, you have to do the same. Pause from browsing your screen. Look into his eyes and talk. The child will reciprocate. Kids imitate us, sometimes intentionally, most of the time unintentionally. 

Attention pays back. This is tried and tested. It has worked for me both as a mother and a marketer. 

As a product marketer, I have observed consumer attention going down by more than 50% in the last two decades. 

In the words of Herbert A. Simon the Noble Laureate psychologist, who coined the term “attention economy”, it’s the current wealth of information that has created this poverty of attention

True that! Human attention has always been limited, valuable, and scarce. But what distinguishes the present-day crisis is the technological advances. They have made an overwhelming amount of information available to us, capturing our attention 24*7. 

It’s not easy to make someone interested in our messages. Unless we become cognizant of the fact that what we are trying to attract is valuable. It requires effort. And it requires attention.

Here’re some of the ways in which we can try to reclaim the value in the attention economy age:

  • It definitely starts with paying attention to our consumer’s needs and behavior. The more we observe, the better we understand what will connect with them.
  • Being selective with the media helps. Instead of the “Spray and Pray” approach, be judicious with the media choices and personalize the experience there. 
  • An engaged audience is not a one-time metric. We need it on an ongoing basis. Precisely why, we need to have a ladder approach to attracting attention. Focussing on one goal at a time.
  • Avoid inattentional blindness. If we keep on showcasing the same messages, same creatives every day, consumers get used to it. Change in stimuli helps in attracting attention. 
  • Keep your message simple and concise. Be specific in your ask, state the call to action clearly. Remember we are trying to deal with the attention economy here :). 

To sum it up – pay attention, avoid random spray and pray approach, focus on one goal at a time, change the stimuli to avoid blindness, and be specific in your ask. 

These are some of the ways in which I have been trying to deal with attention deficit both at work and at home :). 

At times I fail, and times I succeed. But every time I fail, I try to analyze if there is another approach that would work and I go back to trying again. 

Attention is a rarity, but it’s still not all lost. The need of the hour is brevity and meaningfulness in our communication.

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