How many of you have raised and trained a dog?  As the proud father of a half cattle dog half terrier puppy – I can say she is one of the most well behaved puppies I’ve ever encountered.

Isn’t she cute?

Yeah – she is cute.  But – she isn’t so cute when I am trying to teach her tricks or to focus her attention on going to the bathroom outside – and I can’t hold her attention for more than a few seconds.

So one day while I am outside repeating the words “bathroom” as she sniffed around – I had the revelation that – puppies are like consumers.

Ok – so consumers don’t go running after squirrels and chipmunks in the back yard.  Well – that’s our assumption that most don’t anyways.  But consumers do have plenty of outside stimuli distracting them from what you’re trying to get them to focus on.

Smart phones have given consumers what some dog trainers call the puppy ADD syndrome.  It’s so hard to focus on one thing when you’re receiving Facebook notifications – right after your Twitter notification – right after you received a text from one of your friends – right after you received another email – all seemingly at the same time.  So how your marketing is

To the puppy – the smart phone is like the owner taking a ball and pretending to throw it in 5 different directions.

According to a  Neilson Survey in March 2012 – 49.7% of U.S. mobile customers are smartphone owners.    So it’s probably safe to say that half – if not more – of your customers or prospective customers are smart phone users.  Meaning – their attention span is very short.  Like my puppy.

Trending U.S. Smartphone penetration, 2011-2012

So it’s time to shorten your marketing – be succinct and to the point.  And drive them to do the act you want them to do by repetition and rewards – just like how you train a puppy.  Except these rewards are in the form of a discount – not a treat.

Here are 3 simple steps to keeping the attention on your marketing:

  1. Be the pink elephant in the room.  Have a subject line – a post on FB – a tweet – whatever it is – make it stand out.  Be the alpha dog.
  2. Repeat the main message.  You’ve heard people need to hear the same thing at least 3 times before they remember it.  So repeat the message you want to convey.  Keep the pace fast and get right to the point – what is it that you want them to do with the information you gave them?
  3. Offer a time sensitive incentive – as soon as a consumer walks away – they’re unlikely to remember to come back.  So make the incentive something they need to do now – or they’ll lose out.

Training a puppy and getting a consumer’s attention are very similar after all.  You have to stand out – repeat the message in a fresh way – and offer an incentive.

Just don’t snap your finger at a consumer – they don’t like that very much.

 

 

Ron Romanski is CEO & Chief Strategist at Preactive Marketing, an independent marketing consultancy specializing in creative, integrated marketing solutions that are designed to engage your clients, build a relationship, and get you results. Preactive Marketing specializes in marketing planning and management that encompasses email marketing, social media, SEO, and website content and design. Ron has served in various leadership roles, leading projects and teams that achieved upwards of 400% increase in revenues for product offerings.
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