Broken Consumer Attention Is Breaking Analytics Strategy: Data Corner

“The attention economy is not growing, which means we have to grab the attention that someone else has today.”

Brent Leary, CRM expert and founder of CRM Essential and co-host of Watch Amazon, said that over five years ago, but its message now resonates louder than ever before.

Customers are expecting the right message at the right time. Their journeys are becoming faster-paced, and, because those journeys span devices and platforms, they don’t represent linear paths to an ad message any more. As marketers try to position messages and engagement along the route of that journey, they are overlooking other strategies that are valuable for analytics, and that can lead to long term sales.

Short term-ism permeates the strategies applied to marketing roadmaps. A roadmap can plan on what can be done within marketing campaigns, theoretically for months, or even for years. But CMOs are pressed for results in a much shorter time frame. Moreover they face budget constraints. This means that marketers create campaigns meant to constantly connect to customers in the moment, but pay less attention to the deeper analytics that can lead to long term customer lifetime value, or defend against customer churn.

Short spans

Part of the reason customers’ attention spans are regarded as being small is the trend of trying to market to them in fleeting micro moments. People own multiple devices. Some people have an Amazon Echo, while many turn to their smart phone. Others continue to turn to a laptop first.

On top of those device choices, there are multiple channels for media notifications — email, apps, TV. An ad no longer appears just on television. It can appear on channel after channel, especially where re=targeting takes place. Moreover, consumers are increasingly learning to ignore ads, be it a skipping them in a YouTube video, or using ad blockers to block them outright. Customer attention is fragmenting. Brands only have fleeting moments to get a message across, instead of being able to command their audience’s attention exclusively, or for long periods of time.

What’s more, Nielsen examined consumer shopping behavior, suggesting that branding has become so much harder that the traditional Pareto rule — 80 percent of sales comes from 20 percent of your customers — may be broken.

Other opportunities

As I mentioned when writing about YouTube, a platform that holds the attention of a mobile audience in a world where customer attention if fragmenting is extremely attractive. But the price of that hold can mean overlook other opportunities. Discovering opportunities is what analytics is all about.

Marketers should assess their current dashboards for what conclusions can be drawn immediately. In addition, you should get into the habit of asking a metric “So what?” three times, as described by analytic expert Avinash Kaushik. For those who are unfamiliar with this principle: when you draw a conclusion from examining a dashboard metric, you should always ask the question “So what?” The answer should lead you to an action you can take. Usually if this is not done in three steps, you would question if the metric is worth noticing.

In today’s broken Pareto climate, it is more important than ever to test the purpose of metrics against your KPIs or other objectives. If a metric does seem to deliver useful insights, the chances are that more advanced analytic techniques will drive even greater value from them. Those techniques involve a plethora of data analysis choices, ranging from applying additional data, to building cluster analysis to evaluate sentiment around a customer purchase.

The key is to distinguish what can be done immediately from what may need further investment. Organizing that investment can save time and money. The battle for grabbing customer attention has never been more intense. The additional struggle involves looking for ways to retain it.

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