Best Practices

Fast Five: Q&A with Patrice Greene on Marketing in the Attention Economy

Recently, we curated The Attention Economy – The Impact of Attention Scarcity on Modern Marketing. In this eBook, we asked 12 modern marketers to share their best practices for winning the battle for their buyers’ attention. To broaden the discussion and keep the conversation going, we’re reaching out to other marketing and sales leaders with five quick questions on marketing effectively in the Attention Economy.

1. The Attention Economy was first coined in 2001 by Thomas Davenport and John Beck to describe the scarcity of attention and how to measure it, understand it and use it. Fifteen years later, do marketers understand the true nature of their buyer’s attention today?

I don’t believe it’s as simple as “yes they do” or “no they don’t.” With digital delivery affecting how individuals and organizations consume information, marketers will always be in a situation where we need to watch, learn, and adapt – rapidly. This notion that one day we’ll all suddenly understand how buyers buy – like it’s a static end state – just needs to go away. Buyers will always be changing and marketers will always need to study that behavior and adapt (if we want to be any good at our jobs!).

2. B2B buyers today are busier and more distracted than ever before. What do marketers tend to get wrong in their rush to capture their buyer’s limited attention?

Not segmenting properly. Not doing enough research. Because attention is so scarce, marketers need to ensure they’re really capitalizing on the opportunity when it presents itself.  Too often, we’re in “hamster on a wheel” mode, getting more and more campaigns out – versus spending ample time analyzing key data and doing research that will inform relevant and valuable content. If we focused more effort on understanding what’s important to our buyers, segmenting them in ways that are more meaningful, and presenting them with information we already KNOW they want – we’d have way more success. And BTW: I get that it’s easier said than done. My firm wouldn’t be in business if that weren’t the case!

3. The Internet and mobile have dramatically changed how buyers consume content. How are marketers adapting their strategies to align with how we research and buy today?

Not to sound like a broken record, but marketers need to spend more time on research and analyzing data. Marketers are adapting to take advantage of data that’s available to them such as buyer intent data, predictive data, even first party data they haven’t accessed before. Leveraging this information in the right way can provide marketers with insights that allow for more effective targeting. And when I say target, I don’t mean just putting more relevant messaging in front of them. I mean really understanding who’s in the market today for your products/solutions, where are they consuming content, where are they in their buying process? By leveraging data and doing some research, you can focus your efforts for maximum return versus casting the wide net.

4. Marketers have vastly more technology options than ever before. Looking at the marketing tech stack, what’s one solution that stands out in helping marketers sustain buyer attention?

You mean what’s the silver bullet? There isn’t one. There is no holy grail of marketing technology. There’s a myriad of awesome solutions out there that marketers can choose from based on their specific strategy and business requirements. I think that’s the big dilemma facing marketers today – HOW do they choose which tools are right for their business? The answer will vary based on each organization’s specific marketing strategy, maturity, investment level, and business requirements. There is just simply no one-size-fits-all marketing stack!

5. How do you combat attention scarcity in your own life?

Ugh – I’m challenged in this regard. Recently my husband and I implemented a “no screens” policy Monday to Thursday for our children. I’ve been frightened by the research related to screen addiction. We want their attention on the right things (school, family time, playing outside, etc.). I’ve been trying to schedule EVERYTHING into my calendar – sales/prospecting time, marketing time, partnerships, researching healthy meal options/meal planning, reading industry news, family activities, demoing new marketing technology, writing this blog post! I find if I don’t list what’s important, and then schedule it in, it simply won’t get done. My attention too easily gets pulled in other directions.

Picture of laptop and a small dog side by side

Patrice’s work space changes every day: “Today it’s in my kitchen. Close to my new puppy and my coveted espresso machine. Note the shameless website plug!”