Attention is a scarce commodity
And with the overwhelming abundance of content, advertisements, brand promotions, and information we’re exposed to on a daily basis, it’s no wonder we tune so much of it out.
But our limited attention spans pose a big problem for marketers: 1 in 3 marketers (36%) say getting attention is the top challenge they face. So how on earth does a brand surface above all the noise out there to capture the attention of buyers? Can marketers be sure they’re not just adding more clutter to the information overload facing consumers today? And when it comes to bad press, is negative attention better or worse than no attention at all?
These are big questions that we don’t have all the answers to. But in an effort to better understand what marketers can do to effectively break through the noise, we surveyed buyers to find out what’s grabbing their attention, and marketers to see what they’re doing to get attention. Unfortunately, we found some discrepancies.
Make your audience laugh — not cry
Marketing campaigns come in a variety of flavors. But when we talked to buyers, it quickly became clear that some themes are more effective than others. The most attention-grabbing genre? Rising above informational, happy, endearing, scary, and sad, the top ad theme was humor. As it turns out, a lot of us could use more laughter in our lives: 48% of buyers say funny ads are most likely to grab their attention. But in spite of their audience’s preference, only 8% of marketers say they use humor most often in their ads.
Attention is not the first step of AIDA for nothing
Once you’ve captured the attention of your buyers, the benefits that follow are many. Attracting attention is the first step toward making a sale—as well as earning the admiration, trust, and loyalty of your buyers. It can even persuade buyers to fall in love with your brand—which is great because your happy customers are more likely to recommend you to friends and family, leave a raving review, or provide a case study or testimonial. When it comes to their favorite brands, 49% of buyers say they’ve delivered an unsolicited recommendation to friends and family, and 15% went on to write a review of the brand. This positive word-of-mouth can help you grab the attention of an even broader audience. Satisfied customers are the best, aren’t they?
Avoid the wrong type of attention
While marketers fight to gain attention by any means possible, there’s always a risk that they might find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get the wrong kind of attention, ranging from a distasteful ad to a scandal on the leadership team or a large-scale security breach. And when you launch a bad ad, the offense doesn’t stop with the audience that viewed it. Of the 27% of people who saw or heard about an offensive ad last year, a third talked to others about it, with 17% going so far as to encourage others to stop using the company’s products.
It can be hard to tell which ads will drive tons of engagement and which will fall flat (or even upset your audience). That’s why it’s always a good idea to put your ads to the test before sending them out into the wild. Getting feedback before you launch can help you avoid a major marketing fail, confirm the ad’s effectiveness, or surface brand new ideas for your marketing campaigns. While most marketers (92%) test at least some of their ads, only 34% test every ad. That leaves more room for error, and more risk of catapulting your brand into a bad word-of-mouth fiasco.
Breaking through the noise is hard, but it’s not impossible. Your path to getting the right kind of attention (and creating loyal advocates of your brand) is paved by understanding the full customer journey, building and keeping consumer trust, while also showing up in the all the right places and in all the right ways.
- Why your existing customers are the marketing dynamite you need to win the attention—and trust—of buyers
- Where buyers are most likely to remember seeing an ad (hint: it’s not on the web)
- What factor has a bigger impact on buyer trust than offensive ads, leadership scandals, or security breaches
- How to fix your marketing mistakes if you slip up