All Ears: Why Messages Stick

I have been on hundreds of airline flights. With all of that experience, could I tell you all of the things that flight attendants must cover in their safety pronouncements before takeoff? Probably not. The fact is, I started tuning out those messages many years ago. I was struck by this as I returned home from a holiday weekend with the in-laws.

The flight attendant giving the safety presentation caught my attention for half a second by “spicing” up her presentation with some jokes...not unlike those for which Southwest is famous (although I rarely fly Southwest because of my affinity for assigned seats).

My attention faded after about five seconds. That was how long it took me to realize that she was covering the same “buckle your seatbelt” and “here are the exits” material I have heard hundreds of time before. As I settled back to my book a thought went through my mind; I have a short attention span for messages.

Thinking about it more, I realized that my attention span is not short for every message. I was all ears for the messages in the terminal. Why? I wanted to know if the plane was going to be delayed, if we were ready to board, and/or if I was going to miss my connection. My attention span only became short when I believed there wasn’t value for me in the message.

There is a reason that most companies get a better response from a mention in a magazine versus an advertisement in one. There is a reason that more people click on the organic search results in Google versus the sponsored ads.

We have learned to tune out most marketing messages because they are designed to sell, not to add value. Find a way to add value to a prospect and they will be all ears for your message.

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