Earning someone’s attention is an art and science. It’s always been. The difference in today’s world is that engagement dynamics are much more distracted, personal, and complex.
As a result of technology’s influence on behavior, people are unwittingly more self-centered, impatient, and demanding. They’re also more connected and hyper-informed. I refer to today’s customer, lovingly of course, as accidental narcissists. What’s more, people report that they increasingly carry stress and anxiety in their customer journey.
Businesses aren’t doing much to help.
Choices are everywhere. Decisions are daunting. Customer journeys are needlessly complicated and often irrelevant or impersonal.
Traditional communication strategies, legacy mindsets, processes and funnels, regardless of the shiny objects we employ, are in need of a critical upgrade.
Customers need “light” to guide them in productive, enlivening and personal ways toward desired outcomes. They need light to brighten the darkness and chaos of pervasive distractions and overwhelming choices. This is an invitation, and an incredible opportunity, to compete differently.
The good news is that we have the technology and the tools to do so. The key is to remember that change is never one-sided. As customers change, so must those hoping to reach them without becoming distractions like everything else in their life. Differentiation comes in how we use the tools and why.
To engage someone now, means that we understand them. We understand their moments, their feelings and intent, their preferences and expectations, their means of communication and what entices their attention to move them, deliver value and build meaningful relationships. We must also understand their feelings, frustrations and annoyances.
Distraction is something more than interference. It doesn’t have to be a negative. There can be positive interruptions to steer someone toward a brighter light. Communication and technology can build bridges to better places, more meaningful moments and better outcomes.
The other good news is we have the ability to understand how people communicate, their intentions, times when they’re open to engagement, and what they value. We also have the ability to predict their needs over time.
What changes, is us.
Our words, intentions and the next steps we present to someone in moments of truth now count for everything.