Marketing in the Modern Attention Economy: 9 "M-Words" Modern CMOs Should Consider

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Richie Etwaru, Group Vice President, Clouding and Digital Innovation, Cegedim Inc.
Richie Etwaru, Group Vice President, Clouding and Digital Innovation, Cegedim Inc.

Marketing has always been an inexact science—starting with John Wanamaker famously saying over a century ago, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half"—to modern day marketing pundits suggesting social media tips and tricks are the new marketing silver bullet.

Digging deep, we will find marketing is psychological and personal; not technical and mathematical as some may suggest, and ergo, still very much as inexact as John Wanamaker described over a century ago. We can safely conclude that modernizing marketing is likely a study of the modernization of psychology.

The psychology of the world is now more about "me" than us.

In 2010, the New York Times published an article on the "Me Economy," suggesting that every individual is now a marketer; and every individual wants to be marketed to personally. While this is true, and I am guilty of this myself, there is something new happening in psychology affecting marketing and advertising beyond every individual becoming an individual marketer.

We are going from a Me Economy, to Me Marketing. One may say Me-keting.

Consumers want marketing and advertising to be more personal, engaging and meaningful. Consumers want to skip ads. We want shorter versions. We want mini stories. We want to be emotionally and psychologically jolted before we buy. Telling us about your product is boring, and no longer a viable mechanism to engage with customers.

Modernizing of marketing and advertising in the "Modern Attention Economy"

So if this is psychology, it is likely inexact by nature. What can a modern CMO do? Below are nine things CMOs should consider when desiring to engage consumers who no longer want to give their attention to boring and scripted product descriptions.

1. Messaging—Be greater than the sum of your products. Winning brands are within narratives beyond their offerings. Think Nike: do you remember the last time they implored you to buy their shoes?

2. Media—We're a visual culture. Aesthetics are an equal part to your message. Engagement statistics don't lie: posts with photos and videos garner the highest levels of buzz.

3. Measured—Strive to quantify your effectiveness. Otherwise, you're at risk of appearing out of touch with consumers that are increasingly less forgiving.

4. Medium—Be ubiquitous across all devices—achieve omni-channel over multi-channel, and embrace multiplicity. Undoubtedly, mobile is the new mission critical. By being ever-present, ever-visible, you have an opportunity to generate incredible emotional equity with consumers.

5. Many—Accept that people are more influenced by others than brands. It's a secondary influence marketplace. Elevate the shareability of your message. You now need to capture your audience's audience.

6. Minutes—The one-post-a-day mentality is dead. It's now minute-by-minute updating. Strive for rapid-fire, top-of-feed content initiatives. Be consistently visible to capture consumers with now microscopic attention spans.

7. Multi-directional—Touchpoints are everywhere, and in every direction. Listen to and understand the diverse ecosystems where consumers are letting their voices be heard.

8. Meaningful—Intelligence is being democratized. Consumers don't read ads, they're reading for brain food. If your message isn't contextual and focused on proliferating valuable information, it will fall flat.

9. Movement—Join one. No brand is an island. All of today's market leaders are a part of a movement—whether it's about celebrating the human spirit or educating someone—it centers on something good that you just happen to be a part of.

Is your CMO a modern marketer?

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