Marketing in an ADHD World

Get your message across quickly.

Diana Lillicrap 11.19.2015

According to a study done this year by Microsoft, humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish. Yep, we generally lose concentration after only 8 seconds for most tasks, whereas the fish can last for 9 seconds.

And what’s more alarming is that our attention spans have dropped at a record pace. In fact in just over a decade, we’ve seen a 33% decrease, with our ability to focus on a single item going from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015.

Some might argue that a digital world that requires us to multi-task and multi-screen at all times is turning us into a society of attention-deficit consumers.

On the bright side

There is an upside to this research. The same study showed that we are actually getting better at multi-tasking—something psychologists have claimed for years is nearly impossible—and at being hyper-focused in short bursts. With increased subjection to daily distractions—dinging emails, buzzing phones, and various other interruptions constantly bombarding our senses—our brains are evolving to adapt to our changing surroundings.

Evolve or die

Using this trend to our advantage is the marketing opportunity. As businesses and brands, we too need to adapt to our changing surroundings and to a savvy, but overwhelmed customer. So before you add to the clutter with a new marketing effort, here are three questions to consider:

  1. Is your message clear and concise? If you can say it with fewer words (or maybe no words at all), you are more likely to be heard. Less is more has never been more true, considering you get 8 seconds or less to capture someone’s attention.
  2. Is your approach going to stand out? Marketers have always understood that differentiating your brand is key to beating out the competition and avoiding commodity status. But in today’s market, you need to not only be different, you need to be relevant, attention grabbing, and memorable or your customer will likely forget what they see or hear instantly.
  3. Are you being as targeted with your efforts as you can be? With so many channels and choices, consumer expectations for information, personalization, customer service, and availability have never been higher. Mass marketing doesn’t work for most products or services any more. If you want to reach an over-stimulated audience makes sure you’re using micro-targeting efforts and creating personal connections that can have real meaning in an overwhelming world.

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