Pay Attention or Bring Attention

Pay attention or bring attention! The choice belongs to the consumer! More images, selfies, content, and sellers continue fighting for attention. Whether businesses sell, persuade, manipulate, or monopolize, the fight for attention has adopted more forms, channels and avenues than at any time in history. Consequently, winning ongoing struggles for attention in the marketplace is an essential component of connecting more, and subsequently selling more. Who has the secret to securing, then benefitting from increasingly scarce attention?

Many consumers focus on prices when they are making any purchases in the marketplace. Regardless of the size, scope, or quantity of the goods and services that are purchased in the marketplace, how much something costs is part of the buying process! Of course, price matters because the buyer needs to have the capital, in any number of formats, to make the purchase. Nevertheless, the real trigger is the emotional decision that results in the purchase. Decisions to buy actually focus more on emotion, than budget. A good that is common as breakfast cereals still drive purchases based on perceived value. Watch any parent walk past the generic breakfast cereal in the grocery until she grabs the box with the ubiquitous tiger on the box. The parent pays a little more because she actually just purchased a peaceful breakfast. On the other hand, the generic alternative would have resulted in a stressful morning as the child throws multiple temper tantrums concerning the wrong cereal. The parent did not overpay for breakfast cereal. She gladly paid a premium because a peaceful breakfast was included in the extra price associated with the brand name.


The first opportunity for brands to stand out beyond the crowd is the sensory excitement that results from communicating with the seller. That interaction does not necessarily require a face-to-face interaction. Advertising is fundamentally connecting with prospective and established customers with an attractive offering. Physical proximity to the interaction is simply one factor in manipulating the purchase decision. Storytelling represents another way that drives the decision because of the emotional connection that results from memorable, positive images around the product. Happy images are now part of the breakfast experience. Advertisers feast off that reality! Moving from breakfast to lunch, the decision of where to eat will now include decisions that feature speed, individual dietary choices, and external influence toward being satisfied with peers’ admiring your meal selection.

The key to sellers or producers winning the decision for the purchasing desires relies on marketing.  Realizing that marketing is primarily influencing a business decision in favor of the provider, the emotional connection between buyer and seller must be established, and then demonstrate staying power. Awareness comes into play because many contrasting images attack the marketplace. Emotional triggers that secure a priority on behalf of the successful provider eventually secures the sale. Then, upon meeting the expectations of the experience, the provider earns additional opportunities to win more business in repeat sales. This interaction is important because repeat customers are more valuable. By delivering on the marketing promise that features communicating satisfaction and utility, providers increase market share, and consequently opportunities for incremental revenue. Still, the marketplace must accept the value that the good or service delivers.


Nevertheless, whether the purchased item has a shelf life that lasts for years, like an appliance, or until the credits roll, like a movie. The utility, which is the intrinsic benefit, the good feeling, or the usefulness of the product dictates whether the customer exercises loyalty, or simply enjoys the benefit for the moment. Regarding the consumers’ selection, expect that the choice is going to maximize utility, or cost-effectiveness. Counterintuitively, value has to be introduced at every interaction with the purchased good or service. Watch how quickly, a brand name is replaced with a cheaper alternative when a formerly loyal customer begins to test alternatives. The product did not necessarily change. The ability to hold the customers’ attention waned as alternatives entered the buyers’ conscious.

Basically, value is the satisfaction that the purchase met the emotional needs of the purchaser. Of course, the price matters. It is part of the mental calculus in solving the problem of which selection to make. Nevertheless, the incumbent choice has a significant advantage because a determination of the goods’ or services’ utility has already calculated. Consider that a trusted friend suggested that the buyer tries a new coffee brand. The patron tries it and likes it. The sample worked. The known value came up for evaluation. The next purchase goes to the newly sampled experience. A different choice was made. Effective marketing wins the day again. Not just the price, but the perceived value to the consumer effectively persuaded another prospect!


While many sensory elements, and intellectual analysis go into purchasing experiences, realize that certain fundamentals still drive the ultimate decision. Familiarity provides a legitimate advantage for subsequent purchases. Bad experiences can disrobe an incumbent selection. New attention to an enticing alternative may shift market share as well. Nevertheless, an important part of marketing is the ability to highlight alternative benefits that intrigue less-than-loyal customers. Yes, the tiger on the box has consistently driven decisions for breakfast cereal for years. But the child becomes a pre-teen and new experiences are everywhere. The child shifts allegiances because she wants to be cool. The parent shifts the purchase decision because he wants quiet at the breakfast table. Ultimately, decisions have different inputs with different weights. Still, any seller that wants to change purchasing decisions in the marketplace, will entice a sense of change for the better. The decision maker, regardless of age, will explore alternatives when that decision potentially improves the quality of life and the utility of the buying authority. No matter how much the purchasing parent fondly reminisces about the tiger on the box being at the breakfast table, that tiger on the box will end up in the recycle bin quicker than a child can say ecology, if that gives the purchaser 30 seconds of additional peace at the breakfast table!

By Glenn W Hunter

Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Author of “Storytelling Wins The Best Engagements”

About Hunter & Beyond, LLC

Glenn W Hunter presents his proven perspectives on business growth. He shares skills and tactics resulting in increasing sales for organizations ranging from start-ups to large corporations. His expertise focuses on storytelling, branding and networking to cultivate relationships that lead to increased revenue.
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