Marketing is all about attention, not impression! [5 mins Read]

If you clicked on this post, you are probably thinking, what is the difference between attention and impression in marketing? First, let’s define them. An impression is an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, and attention is something or someone that captures a person’s interest.

Funny Cat Video

Now, think with me here, if I build enough impression to our customer market, doesn’t it mean I will eventually get their attention? Before I share my thought on it, here are some examples: if you drive by a casino billboard next to the freeway every single day, eventually you will go to the casino; or if you saw a beer commercial, eventually you will be thirsty for that beer. In business, building an impression is better than no impression. Impression is good because at least your customer knows your company or product exists. But let’s be honest between us, what good is it if the consumer only knows your company exist? If we are looking to dominate your market, we not only need to grab your customer’s impression. We better grab his or her attention as well.

TV commercials and billboards have been, and continue to be, some of the most expensive advertising platforms in the industry. Actually, TV commercials are the most expensive advertising tool in the marketing world (with billboards coming in second). Do we even wonder how effective they really are? Are TV commercials and billboards giving us an impression or just gaining our attention?

Fortune Magazine reported that “a 30-second Super Bowl ad is selling as much as $5 million.” That is a lot of money to spent on a commercial, and it is only one 30-second commercial! I don’t remember the last time I paid any attention to a TV commercial, do you? Every time a commercial comes on, I either walk away to grab a drink or skip it with DVR.

The first billboard advertising started in late 18th century. It was, and still is, typically located in high traffic areas. The goal was to reach as many people as possible. Today, billboards have been changing from painted to digital and mobile. Even though the way billboards are delivered has changed over time, the goal hasn’t. It’s still a large graphic trying to get as many impressions as possible.

Do we ever wonder how cost-effective TV commercials and billboards really are? There is no doubt in my mind that TV ads and billboards have their value, but the key point to think about here is, whether traditional marketing is cost-effective, or what is the ROI. All of the commercial ads and billboards next to the freeway will definitely give customers an impression of your service or product, but all you’re doing is giving people an idea, feeling, or opinion about something they may not even care about. Instead, think of a marketing direction that grabs the attention of the consumers who actually care about your product or service.

Because marketing has been changing and consumers are getting smarter, the way marketers should go about these changes is to adapt to consumer behavior, and to understand where it is going and follow it. As my online mentor (even though we haven’t met in person, but he did Snapchat and tweet me back once), Gary Vaynerchuk wrote on his blog, “Consumers are spending the majority of their time on social, and so you need to meet them there.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary also compares cell phones to what TVs were back in 1965. People were glued to that screen and gathered as much information as possible. Our cell phones have become the next marketing platform. And we should follow it and grab our consumers’ attention by making valuable content through their preferred platform.

Impressions don’t necessarily equal attention. There are a ton of information and content out there in the world. Our consumers have a lot to focus on. The goal for marketing in the year of 2016 should be to “understand the emerging markets, understand where your consumer is, and meet them there. Don’t make them come to you,” as Gary mentioned on his blog.

If you want to win your attention, you have to go out there and provide relative content to the right audience! Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to invest some money in a nice billboard next to the highway or see myself on a TV commercial and show all my friends and family how “cool” I am, but mass marketing is out-dated, and the 2016 marketing world is all about personalization. We need to do a better job on marketing our product to the right people with the right content!

Let me ask you a question here, if you are trying to market a resort and casino property, would you deliver a different marketing content to your customer market of male gamblers and husbands with a family of 3 kids? The answer is, of course, I will! Your marketing content for the male gamblers should focus on the gaming machine, table games, or maybe even free play. On the other hand, your marketing content for the husbands with a family of 3 kids should focus on family time, like dining out or a ski trip for the family. This is just a simple example and may even seem like common sense to many, but when it comes to marketing, we seem to forget about this rule.

There is nothing wrong with traditional advertising, but there has to be a better way to market your product or service than spend a large amount of advertising dollars and get people to come to our businesses. And there is. In order to achieve that, companies will need to spend time and effort to understand their customers’ triggers, like what do they really care about and what is the most effective way to reach out to them. Business is about grabbing our customers’ attention. Building an impression isn’t enough anymore, not with the way marketing changes. So, go out there and listen to your customers. Think like a customer and market like an entrepreneur.

Questions of the post

  1. What is your opinion about traditional advertising like billboards and TV ads vs social media marketing?
  2. What mobile and social media platform would you recommend for different businesses?

I would love to hear your thought on that answer, please comment below!