It's An ADD World

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is figuring out how to get someone’s attention, especially in a world where just about everyone has Attention Deficit Disorder – okay, maybe not the clinical ADD variety, but it certainly seems that way.

Whether it’s a headline in a pay-per-click ad, a subject line in an email, the first paragraph of a press release, a TV spot, or an outdoor ad on the highway, smart marketers know they have about 3 to 5 seconds to get the viewer’s attention, or that person is moving on.

In the 2.4 seconds it took you to read the headline of this blog (yes, I timed it), you considered a lot of factors. Should I read further? You may have glanced at the image in the blog to fuel your decision process. Of course, external factors play a role as well. Are you strapped for time (who isn’t?). Is a project screaming for your attention? Is your stomach screaming for food?

Our amazing brains process those factors and a hundred others in a microsecond. And, of course, many of us make things even worse by multi-tasking – texting while driving, reading our emails while shaving, listening to a radio while reading, etc.

Of course, your manager doesn’t have any sympathy for your situation and is probably operating under the assumption that recipients of the company’s marketing messages are hanging on every word, anticipating with baited breath the next exciting syllable. Maybe that explains the endless wordsmything and the discussions over whether they should use “that word” or the “other word.”

Those first few seconds…that’s the key. If you don’t make it past there, it doesn’t matter what comes next.