If only we would stand still! Or
better yet – be consistently
predictable. So lamented my
client regarding their efforts to
sell products and services to
women. It seems that women
are everywhere – literally.
And yet, we ‘all’ are not in
everyplace. There is no one
place to find us. Therefore,
getting our attention, let
alone keeping it, is no small
challenge. Seth Godin posted
on the value of someone’s attention
(I’m paraphrasing here) under the
same post title. It is well worth
reading, as he describes how precious
a commodity is our individual
attention – making the compelling
point that it isn’t free. There is
a lot of competition for our attention.
As a mini experiment I tracked my
activities for one day to identify
how much of my time and attention
was available for promotional contacts of products and services. It turns out, not much. My day looked like the following:
- Upright and dressed at 5:30a.m.
- Note: not particularly alert and NOT an early morning person
- 30 minute walk – still dark outside
- Breakfast at 6:30a.m., no background noise
- Email at 7:00a.m.
- Note: now alert, but quite yet at peak attention
- Project work on computer 8:30a.m. – noon
- attention at highest focus
- some web searching, project related
- Intermittent interruptions and phone calls
- Stop for lunch at noon – radio in the background
- Back to work on the computer 12:45p.m., no background noise
- Client call at 2:30p.m.
- Back to computer at 3:30p.m.
- Errands to grocery store, bank and stop at neighbors’ at 5:45p.m.
- Dinner preparation at 6:45p.m., dinner at 7:15p.m.
- Clean kitchen, do laundry, read the paper, answer email at 8:00p.m.
- Interact with family at 8:30p.m., watch 15 minutes of Charlie Rose
- ‘just-15-minutes-more-on-the-project-turned-hour’ on the computer at 9:15p.m.
- Ready for bed at 10:15p.m.
- Final chapter in the book of the week, month, who knows how long ago I started it…at 10:35p.m.
- Asleep, probably at 10:40p.m.
When I looked at the places, activities, time frames and focus of one day, it became apparent, that unless a product/service was essential to me, and I knew about it, and it was in my path, it would go unknown. Therefore it would not be purchased or experienced.
This was one day, not all days are as well structured as that day was, some are more chaotic or disjointed. I don’t have children at home to further distract my attention, it can only be more of a challenge for women who do. I know through discussions with many a woman friend, colleague, relative and acquaintance, their days are similarly busy. As illustrated above, we have a lot of balls in the air, all the time. We rarely have free time where our attention is not otherwise diverted.
As noted in Seth’s post, our time is not free, as it turns out, in either of two dimensions.
A woman’s day is literally filled to the brink with activities and responsibilities. Precious little
time during a day is free from other thinking, doing or being activities. Secondly, because
our days are not free filled, getting our attention – taking our time, will require
some effort and thus expense on the part of the pursuer. Free time – NOT, times two.
Women are not going to readily deviate from a proven path or reliable schedule that gets us through a day, accomplishing the critical ‘must-do’ activities that facilitate our arrival at the desired finish line – our pillows. So what’s a marketer to do to get us to notice products and services? Where indeed can a marketer be that we will see their wares. [Rhythm and rhyme pure luck!]
I imagine such a place would resemble the image I have of an Egyptian bazaar. A place that has everything in a vast array of colors, sizes, styles, at every price point and in great abundance. However, no one location exists where all women visit and all marketers are present. Nor does it make sense that such place exist as women are not identical to one another.
It makes sense then to be ‘where’ we are, particularly when the introduction of new products and services are concerned. We are at home, at work, preparing for presentations, in meetings, in our cars, on planes, at the store, bank, dry cleaners. We use computers and telephones. We I listen to the radio, watch some network TV programs, read the paper and hard copy books. And many of us also use new technologies – that allow us to eliminate the ‘noise’ of advertising.
Reaching us and getting our attention is not easy. There is not just one place. Our time is not free. And when we encounter and try new products and services, it will be because good marketers understand it is worth their effort and expense to be where we are.
Note: If you know the illustrator to whom attribution can be assigned for the graphic in this post, please let me know.
(c) 2010 pH Consulting