Battling for Partial Attention

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Sep 19, 2012

MJ resized 600This post is part of the September blog series. With FutureM coming in October (do you have your pass yet?!), we're thinking a lot about marketers and consumers, and this series reflects that. We asked our writers to answer this question: "what is it going to take for marketers to catch up to consumers?" We'll be sharing several posts each week of the month. Stay tuned for diverse viewpoints and creative answers to this question. This post is by Matt Jacobs, Director, Channel Planning,AMP Agency. Matt will be speaking at FutureM on a session entitled, “How Will the Class of 2016 Change the World of Marketing?” that will explore how advertisers and marketers can navigate the ever changing marketing terrain of Digital Natives. The session will explore the mindsets and dorms rooms of the Class of 2016 to uncover how these students (and their evolving media consumption habits) will force marketers to adapt.

At this point, if you’re in the marketing industry, someone has likely mentioned the stat from the recent "A Biometric Day in the Life" research study conducted by Time Inc. and Innerscope Research that states that Digital Natives are jumping between media platforms 27 times per hour*. At first read, it’s a rather startling observation, but after a few minutes of consideration, minutes that included me opening and closing three web tabs, receiving a text message, scanning my Twitter feed and walking by the TV in the lobby of AMP’s offices, I quickly reminded myself - continuous partial attention** is the new norm.

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So as marketers, what can we do to catch up to consumers’ new way of consuming (or at least partially consuming) media messages? In short, we have to work harder.

At AMP, we believe that the function of marketing has evolved. The reality of ubiquitous device presence, 24/7 connectivity and an ever present social layer of constant peer-to-peer sharing / commenting / referring, has revolutionized the way consumers engage with brands. Brands, and subsequently agencies, need to adapt to keep up. Here are a few key considerations/thoughts on how:

  1. The worlds of marketing, technology, media, and application development have merged. Agencies that integrate paid, owned, and earned media offerings will benefit because they will be able to reach customers in the most effective and efficient manner.
  2. Building on the convergence of paid, owned and earned, consumers don't consciously differentiate between these channels when receiving brand messages. To survive, agencies must adopt a model that reflects this convergence. That starts by truly integrating departments and processes to develop channel neutral strategies that prioritize reaching the consumer at the right time in the right place. It’s not enough to simply offer “integrated services” to your clients – they must truly work harmoniously together.
  3. It’s no longer just about what a brand has to say, or where it says it, but how a brand behaves (and adapts) as it is saying it. Real-time conversation monitoring, channel/budget optimizations and ongoing strategy sessions are needed to keep up with ever-changing conversations and innovations in the marketplace.
  4. Content is still king - and perhaps has even more of a throne to sit upon these days - but a large consideration must be paid to the fact that consumers are now publishing more content each day than publishers. Agencies must work with their clients to provide tools, guidance and gentle prodding to help consumers become advocates for our brands.
  5. AMP Agency’s recent Psychology of Social*** study showed that age-old human desires – connection, attachment and identity establishment – are now enhanced by the technological capacity to connect via new channels/technologies. When building marketing strategies, remember that basic consumer needs haven’t really shifted; however, the mediums and the resultant opportunities to deliver on those needs have greatly widened. Ensure you listen to your consumers wants and needs or risk being left behind.

Footnotes / Sources:
*http://www.timeinc.com/pressroom/detail.php?id=releases/time_inc_study_digital_natives.php
**A term coined by Linda Stone over a decade ago
***http://www.ampagency.com/insights-lab/whitepapers/psychology-of-social-whitepaper