Monday, December 12, 2011

BIG’s Blog: The Attention Economy

“We are in information overload. We have so much coming at us; it is hard to process it all.”

Sound familiar? Whether it is you saying it or reading someone else saying something similar, the idea of information overload has been building for a long time.

Today we have myriad choices of content; the limiting factor in consuming this information is our ability to pay attention.

“Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information. Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether to act.” (Davenport & Beck 2001, The Attention Economy: Understanding the Currency of Business).

The advertising industry has been worried about this for a long time. The advertising industry’s primary concern is getting consumers to consume advertising. Traditional media (including direct mail) assumes consumers follow a linear process in consuming media known by the acronym AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Attention is the first and major stage in converting non-consumers into consumers. If you don’t get their attention, you’re sunk.

What are the audience trends in traditional media such as TV, direct mail, print and radio? They are pretty much collapsing.


Media options are exploding and the platform behind the exploding media options is the Internet.

But what marketers (and fund raisers) really want is the attention from those that are interested and able to buy (donate) now. When someone is looking, you want to be there.

Where is this happening?

On Google; it’s called "Search."

When you did your last Google search, do you remember those ads on the right side of the page?

How big a part of your fund raising budget is search?


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