Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Attention Economics

"What's that then?" I hear you say

Economics deals with the demand and supply of limited resources. In the normal definition, this is materials, labour, cash, etc. But how about if we regard attention as a resource and understand that everyone has only a finite supply to provide?

Attention Economics is a concept proposed by Herbert Simon and in recent years has been adopted by the marketing / advertising industry. The idea that people get 'Information Overload' is thus superceeded by the theory that they get 'Attention Overload' . Therefore individuals get too many things fighting for their attention than is reasonable, possible and processable (for more info, see my previous post 'Branded to Death')

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it

However, awareness is only the first part of the entire 'AIDAS' marketing model, that then takes the person on a journey thorugh I(nterest), D(esire), A(ction) & S(atisfaction). Its therefore important to understand that capturing eyeballs is important but that once you've done this you should change your approach and try to generate I(nterest).

You don't generate Interest by trying to grab more attention. Hitting potential customers with more: red, flashing, pop-up, bold & sexually-themed messaging is not the way to get them curious enough to want to learn more. My theory is that if you keep trying to do this you create a form of message ADD where customers tune out and become blind to their affects.
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