Yesterday my Google Alert file contained an article header which caught my attention. The article originated from Forbes.com. Upon clicking on the link the landing page had a flash advertisement for network hardware. This product offering does not interest me whatsoever.
Upon clicking through to the article I was interested in Forbes.com system wanted me to either log in if I had an account or if not create an account. Forbes system won’t let me access the article unless I logged in. I simply left the page. Too bad, the article may have been good enough for me to propagate on Twitter or use some of it in a post of my own. If I had chosen either of those options Forbes would have received a link back to their site and the article. My followers on Twitter may have retweeted the story. Obviously Forbes sees value in getting peoples attention but they failed to translate my attention into an attraction and an affinity with their audience, me. By the way, Forbes.com traffic stats shows a 20% decrease in audience over the last 12 months. They simply don’t get it.
If You Have My Interest, Don’t Steal My Time
Traditional marketers and media seem to think they are more important and smarter than their audience. You get an audience by providing value. You kill an audience by taking value away from them.
Consumers are baited and switched with messages that get their attention only then to steal their time. Besides the experience with Forbes.com I had a similar experience with Fred Thompson, former Senator, and now a Talk Radio show host.
I was waiting to meet someone and sitting in my car listening to the Fred Thompson radio show. He was talking about the political issues of the day and indicated that “people” need to speak out. Since I had the time I decided to call the show and ask why the Republican party isn’t engaging “people” in discussions using social media. I called the show and upon the tenth ring a screener answered my call. The screen said “this is the Fred Thompson Show what would you like to talk about”. I explained what I wanted to discuss and then was shocked at the response. The screener said” That’s an interesting topic but you’ll have to call back when and if it becomes a topic of discussion then hung up on me. Excuse me, Fred Thompson just said people need to speak out and I attempted to! BTW, your web site says “Lets Talk About It”. Go figure.
Now lets put this into perspective. I had some free time. I spent my time wanting to engage in a dialog with Fred Thompson about relevant issues and possible solutions. I waited for eight rings for someone to answer your phone only then to be turned away because my topic wasn’t of interest to them. Hey, what about your audience. Which by the way used to include me until you lost me with this experience.
The Audience Wants Respect For Their Time
The above examples represent a systemic problem with media, brands and politicians. While their busy pushing their agenda, their message and their medium they forget that without an audience they have nothing. Today’s audience wants to engage and are willing to as long as you don’t steal their time or insult them with your own agenda. The audience now sets the agenda.
In both examples above they got my attention. They then lost my attraction and affinity to their message because they stole my time. Subsequently they lost me and possibly others as their audience. Get it?
What say you?