Making Things Interesting

The currency of marketing has always been how interesting a particular product, service or company could be. Today, it’s imperative because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but human attention spans are shrinking like George Costanza coming out of the cold water in that classic episode of Seinfeld

In fact, a new study by Microsoft Corp. says that humans now have less of an attention span than a common goldfish. Sad. but true. The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to the new study, people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitized lifestyle on the brain.

Wow, eight seconds and then you lose ‘em huh? Better make the most of that time. Fear not, I’m pretty great at making things interesting to people (not goldfish) and I have a few good tips for you.

  1. Decide to tell them a story not to just sell whatever it is you’re selling
  2. Start your story with THEIR PROBLEM. Sounds easy, sounds obvious BUT it’s rarely actually done. (which is why so much of marketing is so incredibly awful). 
  3. Make sure it’s clear how YOU solve that problem for them (better than anything else they can find)
  4. Don’t hide the cash register when they are ready to engage — Make it simple for THEM, not you (no web forms or registrations, ok?) and above all else, don’t make them work when they are trying to give you money.
  5. Be human and HAVE FUN. The best marketing is fun—and fun is ALWAYS more interesting than bland. If you aren’t a fun person (and not everyone is) HIRE someone fun to do this for you. (Ahem).

It always amazes me when I meet with professionals, founders and executives and they aren’t very interested in what they do for a living. As a marketer if YOU aren’t interested, no one will be—so start there. I feel like I can make ANY business interesting to their target customer by simply following my basic storytelling rules and getting to the point quickly. The specific words you use REALLY matter.

Well Scott, how can ACCOUNTING possibly be interesting? Well, I’ll tell you what, it becomes PRETTY darn interesting when it’s your money and you realize your accountant didn’t file your corporate taxes for two years and didn’t tell you? (True story I can share at another time).

Ok, but can the LAW be interesting? Are you kidding me? How many prime-time TV shows about the law (and order) can you name? You just have to tell the story like they do instead of how your law school professor did it because there aren’t enough pillows in the world for all the people you will put to sleep. 

What about Basket Weaving? Well, to people who need baskets, maybe there’s something special in the way you source your materials or the craftsmanship that goes into the product. Look long enough and deep enough and you will find your angle.

Being interesting is really all about empathy for the audience. You can’t be interesting to me until you care enough to learn WHAT interests me, right?  This is why most marketing really fails — ZERO empathy.  Couldn’t care less about me.  I’m just a number, a potential conversion and another column on a spreadsheet about their marketing “funnel”

Be better. Do these things and YOUR marketing will be interesting and dare I say….AMAZING!