How to Excel in Attention Economy

Proper Positioning is the answer in the Attention Economy

Attention is the scarcest commodity on the planet. When you get someone’s attention you are getting their most valuable resource–time. The answer to making sure you break through is positioning. Here are some stats I’ve seen out there that really drive home the point:

  • 60,000 new book titles are published each year in the United States alone. (300,000 worldwide)

  • More than 18,000 magazine titles in US – 225 billion pages of editorial content put out every year
  • 400,000 scholarly journals
  • 15 billion catalogs (1999)
  • 87.2 billion pieces of direct mail (1998)
  • Grocery store – 15,000 new products a year, average grocery store has 40,000 SKUs and the average family buys only 150 SKUs per year.

I also like these quotes that succinctly put the problem right in place:

Human attention might be one of the most restrictive limitations to the promise of the internet.

Mitchell Wade, Rand Corporation

Attention has become the scarce resource of the information economy.

Wired Magazine

Your Market Can Be the Same

I believe there is a strange change taking place with attention. Tools and technology are finally coming to age and able to help us save time and effort. Just last week Google released Instant which they claim will save you 2-3 seconds per search. With this savings we also have technology like priority inbox or the Facebook wall that make these decisions for you.

This technology is deciding for you and your target market what is important and more importantly what gets your attention


Here is where the change will take place. Technology and data will increasingly play a role for what is deemed important. While there will be options to expand or pick and choose ultimately technology will reign. As the systems become more smart we will begin to trust the system more. As we trust them more they become second nature.

The Answer is Positioning

I really believe the answer for reaching your target market and breaking through current and future changes will be positioning. How you position yourself, your product, or your service. While this is marketing 101 it also has been something that I have seen be a major focus in discussions are new media marketing.

Here are some general rules I’ve put together from various sources throughout the years:

  • Lead with the most important point you have. I’m a big believer in the inverted pyramid concept.
  • Most likely, your market is blocking you out and not hearing you. They are on overload.
  • Ask yourself if you or your company are the perceived leader? If you aren’t what position do you hold? Can you change the perceptions?

Focus on the market that you exceed and excel within. If you don’t exceed within it I would ask why you are competing.
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

  • Why is exceeding important and why is it critical to look like the leader? Well people look for shortcuts. The perception of your company in the market place or the value you provide is a form of shortcut.
  • Customers will remember exactly one thing about your product or service. You must reduce your message to the one single benefit that stands out in your target market’s mind
  • Even if you think you have no competition you still have one that many people don’t consider. That is the option of not using your product or service. So someone always has an option.