Attention is the New Oil

In a recent Scott Galloway email newsletter, he writes that "We’ve moved from an oil economy to an attention economy."

How do you attract the attention of your ideal customers in your local market? From the data we see at IMA, it's changed.

In the past, your customer's attention was fixed and finite.

Before cable, you couldn't reach them on TV. Then, in a cable world, you could advertise affordably through a local cable provider. Then, customer's started cutting the chord and cable faltered. When they had an acute need arise, they grabbed the Yellow Pages. You knew you could outspend your rivals to grab attention (hell, you could even be on the cover of the book). Now it's a high-powered auction among your biggest rivals that transpires in milliseconds. Local Radio allowed you to capture their attention but many have moved on to podcasts. How do you tap that?

Your business exists in alocal market. You don't have to attract the world's attention to succeed. But you do have to attract more attention than your competitors.

In a recent Scott Galloway email newsletter, he writes that "We’ve moved from an oil economy to an attention economy." He states that oil has been the most important commodity of the past century, and has generated enormous wealth for those who control it. But attention, the control of millions of eyeballs every day, now surpasses oil in importance and wealth creation.

Which company is more valuable, Apple or Saudi Aramco?

It's Apple at a current market cap of $2.4T.

When you boil it down, it's simple.

When you view it through the lens of your local market, it's simple.

We get convoluted trying to parse the data and react to trends. But it's simple.

Win the attention battle in your local market and you'll win the most market share.

So, how exactly, do you do this?

Be Consistent

Content compounds in the same way as stocks. If you post consistently on your platform of choice, you will see huge gains. But those gains will not come in the first three months. The same way that Apple stock I should have purchased in 1994 didn't turn into much in 1995 but by 2000, let alone 2022, we're talking life-altering gains.

So what about that "platform of choice" comment? Where should you post?

At IMA, we believe you should post and/or have your agency post on the following platforms:

  • Your website's blog - your agency should do this
  • Organic social - you should do this
  • Your Facebook page, Instagram and TikTok
  • You don't have to do all three. It depends on your industry. Some clients crush on Instagram and some on Facebook. Everyone should probably be on TikTok (see below)
  • LinkedIn - you should do this
  • For commercial work, if you do it
  • Paid social - your agency should do this
  • Facebook/IG, soon TikTok
  • Email - your agency should do this
  • Send to existing customers and prospects

Follow this content schedule for the best results

  • Two blog posts per month (one long form, over 3,000 words)
  • Four organic social posts per week
  • Two LinkedIn posts per week
  • Ads non-stop and always optimized
  • Email 1 - 3 times per month

That's a total of ~ 30 pieces of content, with 90% of that being organic social posts that you can create by repurposing content from the two blog posts.

Be Ahead

I remember in 2010, every single client of ours said to me that only kids used Facebook.

Then they said the same about Instagram.

Facebook (including Instagram) Ads became the second-best bottom-of-funnel ad platform on the planet.

For the top of the funnel, it's unrivaled.

Now, I hear the same about TikTok.

It's just for kids. And yes, teens love TikTok. They spend more time per user on TikTok than Facebook and Instagram combined.

The king is dead. Long live the king.

In 2010, adults in the U.S. were starting to sign up for Facebook at a rapid clip. 53% of them were already using it. Today that number is 77%.

Imagine if you were the first company in your local marketing to realize that you could grab the attention of half your target customer demographic YEARS before your competition.

This brings us to today (or February 2021 which is the most recent data). 77% of adults aged 30-49 use Facebook. Roughly 21% of adults used TikTok.

Do you see a pattern? Do you see an opportunity?

To be clear, this isn't a love letter to TikTok. There are major concerns about the platform and they are legitimate.

Rather, this is a call to action to understand the attention economy and how it can improve your bottom line. The data never lies. Saying, "it's for kids" is a defeatist attitude that will leave you behind your competitors.

When you boil it down, it's simple.

You need to have a consistent presence where your customers spend time online. If you do that, your customers will reward you with their attention. Your brand recognition will grow. Revenue increases will follow.

Do you need to be on TikTok? Not necessarily. But, if not TikTok, then what?

Galloway has placed his bet.

"TikTok’s short-term dominance at the front end of the attention extraction business won’t be stopped by anyone who doesn’t hear "Hail to the Chief" every time they walk into a room. However, if you check this space five years from now, will TikTok still be a supermajor in the attention economy? If the answer is no, I’d posit that the likely dragon reigning over, and defending, Kings Landing will be YouTube. Fifty-six percent of Americans watch YouTube on a daily or weekly basis. Ninety-five percent of teens use the platform, compared to a third who use Facebook and two-thirds who use TikTok. Back in 2019, YouTube disclosed that users were uploading more than 500 hours of footage to the site every minute, a number that’s likely much higher today. Last year the platform generated almost $29 billion in advertising revenue — roughly equal to Netflix’s total revenue."

You should read that paragraph again.

Reality (They Need You)

The reality is that every company is a media company now. And the attention platforms need you to be.

It's been that way for years (see blog posts since 2008). This can be hard to wrap your head around. You're trying to make payroll, hire people who will actually show up on their first day of work, and not choke on your gas bill. I get it. But it doesn't change the reality.

The company that evolves into the best media company in your local market will win the local market. The attention platforms will make sure of it. The algorithm will decide the winners and losers. Why? Because they can't do it alone any longer.

Again, Scott Galloway. "Is TikTok the ultimate evolution of the attention-economy titans? Everyone else in the attention economy is acting like it. Original content is out. CNN+ was unplugged; Netflix is churning subscribers and has shed 70% of its market cap; households are canceling cable and streaming subscriptions in record numbers; and two tech platforms that tried to launch their own original content streaming services just threw in the towel: YouTube Originals shut down in January, and Snap Originals followed in August."

They need you.

And you can win if you accept the challenge.

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