Thursday, August 02, 2007

Now That You Have My Attention ...

... just what are you planning to do with it?

In our attention-deprived age it is a critical question I'm beginning to believe few, if any, marketers and communicators are asking with enough intention.

I was reminded of this yesterday while walking pass an outdoor signboard for a theatre in my neighborhood. Poorly painted, it lists the name of the current production and its running dates.

Now this is fine info if you (1) already know what the show is about, and (2) are likely to attend a performance ... in other words, if you're already knowledgeable and predisposed to act.

That's not going to be most people yet the theatre tells nothing to entice the interests of any of the uniformed whose attention the mere presence of the sign might attract.

So what could/should their sign say?

  • That this play won the 2007 Tony award for best actress and the theatre is offering its Midwest premiere.
  • That it is a hilarious comedy.
  • The box office phone number so you can call right then and order tickets.

And if they would get a little crazy they might even:
  1. Go to Kinkos and enlarge one of their promo fliers into a laminated poster and put that on the signboard to reinforce the visual identity they've already spent time creating.
  2. Add a voice mailbox number people could dial to listen to what actual patrons say about the show (assumes they would be smart enough to collect reviews like that).
  3. Add on of those info boxes realtors use so you could pick up a synopsis of the play with an order form you could use to buy tickets via fax.
  4. List the name and dates of their next show to get people thinking ahead.
  5. Change the board weekly if for no reason than to reengage the attention of people who frequently pass the signboard.
By doing the absolute minimum the theatre probably ensured it got the absolute minimum results. Just like you are probably doing with some of your communications.

It takes so much energy to get people's attention nowadays. You would be much better-served if you thoroughly examine (1) what action you want people to take once you have their attention, and (2) what message/visual display will most lead to that result.

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