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How to win the attention war

How to win the attention war Mark Arnold

Think for a moment about the number of marketing messages you are exposed to every day. Odds are you saw at least a couple of commercials on television before you even left the house. If you are a radio listener, you probably heard a couple more then, too. More than likely, you drove by several billboards on the way to the office. When you got to work, there were probably a few emails trying to sell you something and when you logged onto your social media platform of choice, there were likely ads there, too. From the eggs you buy in a grocery store to the barf bags on airliners, advertising is everywhere.

We really do live in a world that seeks to soak our brains with 24/7 advertising messages. For marketers, the trick is profound -- how do I rise above the din and make a memorable impact on my target consumers?

Below are a few tricks and tips you can use to help your organization reach your target audiences.

Ensure all your marketing venues lead to the same place -- you
Think of this like the hub on a many-spoked bicycle wheel. You're probably trying to reach consumers in one or more of the old school methods and multiple newer methods, primarily social media. Make sure that every point on your wheel has a spoke that leads back to the central hub. Anymore, this hub is likely your website. Working this way, help make sure when a consumer hears or sees your marketing, they are likely to connect the dots between message and source.

Stay true to your brand
One of the dangers of a multipronged marketing approach, especially one that employs multiple marketing cooks in a single kitchen, is that (all good intentions aside) someone will get off-message and betray the brand. The head honcho (marketing manager, marketing vice president, etc.) must aggressively police all marketing channels to ensure they are all loyal to your organization's brand identity. Anything less runs the risk of confusing already harried consumers.

Work your current customer database
Think about it this way -- how many pieces of junk mail do you get in your box (both snail mail and email) everyday? Probably more than you would like. Now, which pieces are you more likely to at least pause and look at and perhaps open? Answer: the pieces which come from an organization you are familiar with and with which you probably do business. In a similar way, your organization should strive to touch existing customers and deepen those relationships. Odds are there are products and services you provide that they are not using. It is also generally less expensive to market to existing customers than to try and reach new ones.

Tell your story
Tell it honestly and authentically. For thousands of years, human beings have responded much more favorably to parables and storytelling than to messages hurled down from on high. Culture your organization's marketing in such a way that it tells the story of who you are and what you provide; but deeper than that, relay that story in such a way that endures the consumer to you and makes them want to be a part of your greater overall tale. Becoming a brand consumers love is perhaps the highest form of branding.

Stop doing everything the old way
Doing things because that's the way you've always done those things is a pitiful mode of operation for any organization. It makes for an equally lackluster and stagnant marketing plan. Be open to new ideas. Seek out innovative and exciting ways to reach your target audience. This may even mean, at times, looking at what your direct competition is doing. Just because they are the enemy doesn't necessarily mean they aren't doing something right. When it comes to reaching consumers, be on the right side of history instead of buried beneath it.

Reaching the modern consumer with marketing messages in a hyper saturated advertising environment is no easy job. However, with the right people, tools, and approach it is entirely possible.

Mark Arnold is president of On the Mark Strategies.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet and Mark at @jmarkarnold.

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner. He is also president of On the Mark Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in branding and strategic planning. Some of the services Mark provides include strategic...

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