“So, what are your scarce maketing resources?” I have asked many people.

“Time, money and people,” are the most likely answers.


But there is a fourth scarce resource: Customer attention.

You need to view customer attention as a finite resource. It is a rationed good, and you must use it frugally and wisely.

In the old days of brute force branding, it made sense to focus on exposing your customer to your marketing messages as many times as possible. After all, the working paradigms were “cut through the clutter” and “capture eyeballs.”

Now, things are different.  If you waste your scarce ration of customer attention on merely invading your customer’s field of vision or sound,  you will quickly wear out your welcome, and the customer will elect to ignore you. (“Capturing eyeballs” is so old-school)  On the other hand, if you focus not on just invading your customer’s senses as often as possible but on fewer, richer interactions, your customer will appreciate you, notice you and, more likely, be moved by your message.

Your customer’s attention is as valuable to him as your time, money and people are to you. Use this fourth scarce resource wisely.


  • Hersh Bhardwaj
    Oct 15, 2009 - 05:09 am

    Absolutely right Steve!

    The number of marketing messages that an average customer receives today has increased manifold from lets say that ‘capturing eyeballs’ era.
    Seth Godin reiterates so often that we have conditioned ourselves to block these messages. Its a highly selective filtering in terms of what we want to see and hear. People are becoming increasingly scared of this continuous selling, via billboards, TV, Radio, emails etc. etc.
    So, isn’t it highly significant to leverage fully the attention that we manage to get from our customers.

  • Steve Yastrow
    Oct 15, 2009 - 18:01 pm

    Thanks Hersh. The best number I can find is that the average American is exposed to 5000 marketing messages per day. (Probably not much different in much of the world) Even if that number is off by a factor of 10, and it’s only 500, it’s obvious that most go unnoticed. People are ignoring most of what is thrown at them.


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