There’s a big difference between commanding people’s attention and demanding people’s attention.
Allow me to explain.
Most small business marketing is based on demanding attention. Think about it:
- They send us emails we never asked for.
- They pester us on social networking sites.
- They call us in the office when we are busy. They call us at home when we are relaxing with our family and friends.
- They interrupt our TV and radio shows with their sales messages.
- They pester us at business events.
- In short, they do everything possible to demand that we listen to what they have to say.
Demanding attention is all about interrupting people, by pushing messages at them. The problem with that approach is that our natural reaction is to push back. Just because they demand our attention does not mean we are going to be receptive to them.
For example, if a marketer walks up to you in the street and pokes you in the chest, he will get your attention, but it’s not the kind of attention he wants!
A smarter approach is to command our attention. This is all about earning attention. People command our attention when they do something that attracts us and then either informs or entertains us; sometimes both. Sure, commanding people’s attention takes more creativity than demanding it, but the upside is huge.
That’s because we treat information that has commanded our attention very differently, from information that is trying to demand our attention.
Think of 2 things you will read today. For example, a spam email and this blog post.
- The spam email is something you will delete the second it arrives. That spam message may be in front of you, but there’s no desire on your part to engage with the content.
- However, you are already over 300 words into reading this blog post. There’s clearly a lot more engagement and trust here.
As a business owner you have the option to either demand attention or command it. You can either pester or attract. Interrupt or engage.
Yes, there’s a place for advertising and with very few exceptions, ads are forms of demanding attention. However, it pays to command attention, to attract the interest of your marketplace, whenever possible. And it’s almost always possible.
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