Attention, not information, is the most valuable commodity

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

It used to be that information was the most valuable commodity to have. In today’s environment, technology has democratized information so much that it is no longer valuable. It’s probably swung the other way where there is way too much. If there is an over saturation of information, what is the new value commodity? It’s attention. Getting people’s attention and keeping it is now what we all seek as marketers and advertisers.

Before, buying a spot on a hit TV show or an ad in a popular magazine was all you needed to do. Just get the information out there. In the early days of the web, it was the same thing. By just being online, you got noticed. As long as you provided good information, people sought you out. The reason why the early days it was about information is because the technologies were new and exciting, not necessarily the content. Now that these technologies are mainstream, it’s no longer a wow factor to have a TV spot on cable, banner ads online or an informative web site. Today the valuable commodity is attention.

Marketing is the main tool to capture and hold attention. It requires a mix of being able to get attention as well as inform. To have people to spend time your ad, brochure, web site or your banner ad, it takes more than just flooding them with information. You must capture their attention. Entertain, surprise, or fascinate your customer with creative, emotion driven concepts that not only gets their attention, but informs as well. This is where algorithms and cold logic falls short. It is touching your customer’s dreams which gives them the brand experience that separates you from just being a commodity. Let’s face it, there are hundreds of competitors who can do what you do, and some even better. Almost all products and services have many competitors. Customers have many to choose from. So what makes you different? What makes you better? It’s not technology. Competitors will have the same thing in only a few months. It’s not the other cliches either: customer service, our great people, or meeting and exceeding expectations. Those things don’t excite customers. It’s just typical hype and hard to prove. What grabs attention is the dream touching, mind blowing, joy of emotional experience. This is what makes brands special. This is what gets and keeps attention.

Once you have your customer’s attention, then they are more open to hear the details, the ins and outs, the ton of information you have to offer about your brand, products, and services. They have been rewarded up front with an experience through marketing and advertising. It is up to your sales efforts not to bore them back out the door. This is where sales must step up and provide the same experience while delivering the deep information that helps customers rationalize why you are the best choice for them.

Attention is now the most valuable commodity.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

3 Responses to “Attention, not information, is the most valuable commodity”

  1. Excellent point! Touch my dream, blow my mind and I am yours!

    Avatar is a perfect example of this. I saw it a week ago for the first time and just yesterday arrived at a conclusion that it is my favorite film ever. A friend attempted to prove me wrong, saying that the film sends no important message and is really just a grand spectacle with no depth. While I agree with some of his arguments (yes, the Pocahontas-style story isn’t exactly fresh, and had it not been for the innovative technology the film may have not been such a success), yet here I am, sitting at home a week later still scraping my brains back into my skull.

    Why? Here’s why.

    1. It was an EMOTIONAL and very personal experience – I WAS the main character, I was growing with him, and the future of Pandora was in MY hands. 2. It blew my mind with the imagery – the beauty of the environment and the sexy blue humanoids (the 3D naturally enhanced this experience). 3. Most importantly – Avatar touched my dreams. It reminded me of how awesome human mind is and how far we can go if only we learn to push past our limitations and stop giving up at a slightest obstacle. It also refreshed my dream of becoming a filmmaker and touching other people’s souls.

    So what do my two cents have to do with attention? Simple. The brand Avatar has grabbed my attention to the point where I’m obsessed with it and won’t relax until I spend another $15. And that’s how Avatar will become the highest grossing film of recent times.

  2. Tim– Excellent example. I agree with all of your points. Avatar is an emotional experience that made you feel part of the storyline which in turn captured your attention and imagination. I really appreciate your insights. Thank you.


  1. SCRUMbled eggs - July 12, 2017

    […] Arguably one of the more important skills in today’s world where people’s attention is one of the most valuable commodities [6]. […]

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