Each day, we are deluged with messages—digital and social media posts, as well as e-marketing blasts, which blur indistinguishably, sap our attention spans, and fall flat in their intended purposes of capturing mindshare and being memorable.
(Admittedly, this post likely will be no exception to this new normal.) In every case, senders with only good intentions genuinely believe they are sharing vital information that their communities—personal or professional—cannot possibly live without.
We were surprised to open our “snail mail” the other day and find a promotional postcard of a comic strip from a media-related service provider that was so “old school”—such a retro throwback to a bygone era that, in fact, really wasn’t long ago at all—that it immediately caught our eye. The feeling was like seeing an old Kodachrome snapshot of something warm and familiar yet long forgotten. The piece was unintentionally kitsch. Yet, in being so unique, it also broke through the clutter and, however briefly, caught our attention. (We are overlooking the fact that the old-school sender is not being “green” environmentally speaking.)
Yet this promo piece made enough of an impression that we are using it as an example to pose a few questions that we—and others—ponder daily. Specifically, in this information-overload era, how do we break through the clutter? How do we packetize messaging for attention spans that are increasingly narrow? How do we craft our compelling, sales-worthy stories? (Perhaps our legacy will be advancing FolFry’s 1st Postulate: attention spans are inverse to the amount of information with which they’re bombarded.)
Reinforcing that point, we recently read the results of a study that found marketers have just 12 seconds to deliver the classic 30-second “elevator pitch,” such is the state of waning attention span. What are the answers then? Brighter minds than ours are grappling with these issues as media continues to fragment. We will ask simply this: does the communication serve a value-added purpose? Does it impart information your communities really need? If not, save the effort; it probably isn’t worth it.
And what became of the old-school postcard? Indeed, it caught our attention…fleetingly. And then it got sent to straight to the recycling bin.