Parental + Marketing Lesson: Get Attention First

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One of the most useful techniques I learned from a parenting class was to get the child’s attention BEFORE you give them instruction.

Which is this:

[Haley is playing a computer game]
Me: “Haley…”
Haley: “Yes Daddy” [must face me, eye contact]
Me: “I’d like you to pick up your room now”
Haley: “Yes Daddy”
[since her attention is towards me, she takes action. She might negotiate, but at least it’s face to face]

Instead of this…

[Haley is playing a computer game]
Me: “Haley, pick up your room” [still playing game when I tell her]
Me: “Haley” [an octave lower or higher, depending on my mood]
Haley: “Uh huh”
Me: “I’d like you to pick up your room”
Haley: “Uh….ok….Daddy”
[no eye contact, still playing game…she’ll forget the instruction in 5, 4, 3…already forgotten]

The technique of first getting attention was a breakthrough for my parenting sanity. But I realized it’s also a relevant marketing principle. After all, consumers are like kids – same short attention span, we just play in a bigger sand box!

Remember, time and money are two sides of the same coin. See these examples for marketers who get the customers attention and time in order to sell (get action) more effectively:

– Free newsletter
– Free estimate
– Interstitial online ad
– Care dealership test drive
– Investment counselor free seminar
– Time share vacations
– 90 minute seminar for a cheap vacation
– Vendor pays for opportunity to speak at sponsored lunch

In all these cases the marketer gets you to focus your attention on them. Some are more effective than others on getting undivided attention, but nonetheless, before they ask for the sale, they get your eyes and/or ears.

What are you doing to get customers’ attention first?

By the way, a second parenting tip is to never use ‘the count’ (1…2….3..) if they don’t act on your instruction. As marketers know, that may work in marketing to drive urgency (last day!), but the impact diminishes over time. I don’t want my parenting effectiveness to diminish over time – when I’m going to need it the most!

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