You Have 1.5 Seconds To Live

One-point-five seconds. If you believe neuroscientists, that's all the time we have to get someone's attention with our marketing messages. In little more than the blink of an eye, each of our targeted customers plays judge and jury to our marketing handiwork and decides whether to pay attention to us or banish us to the ash heap of misspent marketing dollars.

Fickle? I can see how you might think so. But really, it comes down to the idea. The creative. (And yes, "creative" is the word, not the more ubiquitous "content.") What are you putting out there for prospects to respond to? Is it something that entertains them, or solves a problem for them or somehow adds value? Or is it essentially an attempt at showing you're "down" with the 2.0 platform?

These days, as we salivate over the multitude of new technologies, new metrics, new platforms and new ways to reach out and touch customers, it's much sexier to focus on the "how" rather than the "what." But without the "what," our audience has no reason to react to us.



Case in point, mobile apps. Scores of new apps are released daily. A few provide a valuable service (Charmin's "Sit-or-Squat" app, for example, helps users find the nearest clean public restroom). Too many, however, are little more than thinly veiled corporate pap (for example, the Papa John's app, which does nothing more than guide you to the nearest P.J. store).

Truth is, there's as much schlock out there as ever. It's just that with Web 2.0, it's coming at us from more places.

So what do you say we all spend less time worrying so much about the "how" and focus more on the "what." What problem are we going to solve for our customers? What are we doing to make their lives better? What are we going to do to entertain them, to engage them? Once you have a sense of your "what," the tactics will make themselves apparent.

"Brilliant creative is the last true unfair advantage available to businesses today." That quote, attributed to the great copywriter Ed McCabe, was first uttered some 40 years ago. And you know what? It's just as true today.

So before you set off to create a mobile app (or email blast or microsite or the ever-requested viral video), ask how you can make the most of that first 1.5 seconds. That is where you will find success.

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1 comment about "You Have 1.5 Seconds To Live ".
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  1. Doug Pruden from Customer Experience Partners, June 10, 2009 at 9:46 a.m.

    Coming at it from a different POV, I agree. I grew up in a direct marketing environment that taught me that success was based on: 1) "list" (that is, no matter what the medium, being in front of the right propsect at the right time), 2) "offer" (what are you going to do for them - why should they be interested) and 3) "creative" (which must carry the load even after that 1.5 seconds).

    Unless you get the first two right you can't succeed no matter how brillant the creative effort. Choosing the technology first and letting it limit the creative, offer and ability to reach the best prospects is a mistake.

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