Our Society's Growing "ADD" and Multitasking Implications for B2B Marketing

We all know that we are living in a world where the competition for someone's attention is growing, and people are multitasking more and more, and paying attention less and less to any one activity.  But how bad is this multitasking problem anyway?  And what are the marketing implications of this growing "societal ADD"?  I recently came across some good data on the subject from the Profiting from Proliferation book by McKinsey.  The book itself is about a broader set of issues, but around page 100 there are some facts about this particular topic.

marketing multitasking

What I find amusing is that I am not only listening to some MP3's while I write this, but I also have my second laptop open next to me while I restart it to try and reconfigure some settings in Outlook to add a new account.  So, while I am older than this demographic, I too am a multi-tasker.  In fact, similar data indicates that 80% of businesspeople multitask.  I am sure we all know of co-workers who check their email while on a conference call, check their Blackberry while in a meeting, or worse, while driving! (I plead the fifth.)

What is interesting to me, is that the same data from the book also shows that while consumers and business people are multitasking more, they still don't feel like they are successfully escaping from the advertising they are trying to avoid, according to these statistics.

• 65% of consumers feel "constantly bombarded with too much advertising"
• 69% are "interested in products or services that would help skip or block marketing"
• 54% "avoid buying products that overwhelm with advertising and marketing"

What are we marketing people to do?  The key to marketing in our "ADD society" where people are constantly multitasking is relevance.  But, how can you be as relevant as possible?  Here are a few tips on how to make your marketing relevant to appeal to your prospects who are constantly multitasking.

1) Get found in search engines.  Go to Google, and pretend you are a prospect who does not know your company name.  Search for whatever phrase you think describes what your prospect will be searching for when they might be interested in your products and services.  Is you company on the first page of results?  If not, then you are missing out on the most important and most relevant place your company can be, and you should develop a plan to do something about it. (If you want help, check out HubSpot Internet Marketing.)

2) Switch from Email to RSS.  Email gets in my face and clogs up my Outlook, and everyone feels like they get too much email.  I use email to get things done, and messages that get in the way of that usually suffer a quick death from the delete key.  But, when I am ready to consume some content, I open up my RSS reader and go digging through the stories.  At that particular time the content which was annoying when it was in my email inbox instantly becomes relevant because I am in a different state of mind and looking for useful information.

3) Create a useful tool that also spreads your message.  We built www.websitegrader.com as a tool for our internal use, and then decided to open it up to the world to see if others would find it useful.  Without any launch or other promotion, it has now graded over 50,000 unique URLs and is growing fast.  What is even better is that it does an effective job of spreading our company message about the importance of Internet marketing but still provides useful information to people.  Rather than spending time and money to advertise to people, they are coming to us because we have built something useful.

Do you have any other thoughts about how B2B marketing professionals can cut through the clutter and make their messages more relevant?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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