Marketing technology to a B2B audience with decreasing attention span

In B2B marketing, getting your prospect’s attention – especially in outbound marketing – is is getting more and more difficult.   Personally, it seems as though my volume of marketing related e-mails is constantly increasing  – even from sources that I care about or “opt-in” too.  And one of my customers who is an executive at a large financial services firm says he has to literally wade through almost 100 of these e-mails on a daily basis.

So how do you get noticed?  How do  you solve this problem?

Direct marketing experts will tell you it’s about the right copy and subject lines.

Content marketing gurus will tell you offer good targeted content.

And creative firms will push the latest “hot” type of content to you – from white papers, to videos, and now to “infographics“.  You know – those incredibly dense graphics borne with roots back to the start of USA Today.

So what IS the best content for your first exposure to prospect?  Why are infographics so hot?  I believe  it has a lot to do with the time a prospect is willing to invest even if your e-mail copy grabs their attention.

  • White papers were (are?) the content standard bearer for a long time, but even a 4-6 page white paper is asking for a 10 minute time investment.  The same goes for e-b00ks, some of which are 20-25 pages and demand even MORE of your time.
  • Videos then became the new solution.  Make them interesting.  Viral.  And only ask for 2-3 minutes of your prospect’s time.  The problem is, there are so many bad videos and animations out there – and they all seem the same after a while – prospects don’t even want to invest that small amount of time.  So if you’re promoting short videos – it’s best to say in your copy you’re only asking for 60-90 seconds of their time (maybe even less!).
  • Which leads us to “infographics” and why they are hot (at least right now).  I think infographics implicitly ask for only 30-60 seconds of your time.  And the combination of  text and graphics that can be processed in parallel in that amount of time is, I believe, even greater than the amount of information you can get from a linearly presented short video.  And infographics are eminently sharable as attachments, etc.

So the attention span of our target B2B audience now for initial content is down to 30-60 seconds.  And only very short videos or infographics can deliver in that amount of time.

Will the attention span drop even lover? 15 seconds?  What new content format can meet that challenge if it happens?  Or will the volume of inbound marketing continue to grow to the point where ALL inbound marketing is tuned out by our prospects?  Something tells me for some people, this has already happened.

But that is a topic perhaps for another blog.

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