…do you hear it? Perhaps. But if a tree falls when many others are falling, you’re unlikely to detect any single tree falling. Right? So it is with marketing.

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

– Seth Godin

Every day, marketers are competing for attention. We’re out there, putting out messages, collaborating on product development, training sales teams. Too often, we’re channeled into competitive messaging – our message is anchored in the competitive landscape, rather than soaring like a BatSignal over the city. Exacerbating the cluttered landscape with which we deal is the anecdotal decline in attention span – likely caused by environmental clutter.

But wait.

First of all, the mythical 8 second attention span has been shown to be false. The original study is a bit irrelevant to general use. Furthermore, what has been shown is that attention is truly depending on the task and content at hand.

So… what does that mean for marketers?

It means the task we want completed needs to be relevant to the person completing it. Otherwise we’re just noise. Want a message conveyed? What problem does it solve? What issues does it address? What subconscious challenges does it tackle? Instead of “can I say that” the question should be, “does anyone care?”

This question can only be answered by truly listening to your customers and your market. They may have an unmet need, but if they don’t know they have that need, you’re going to be pushing pretty hard to drive adoption. Early technologies have this challenge…it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t launch cool technologies that solve new problems, it means your market creation has to be thoughtful, task oriented, and targeted effectively. In my experience, this challenge seems easier on paper than in practice.

Solution? Listen. Test. Adapt. Listen. Test. Evolve. And in doing so, stand out – focus on solving new problems rather than fighting over how to solve well accepted problems in incrementally different ways.

In the meantime, are you facing challenges that could use experienced outside perspective? Could you use a strategic marketing perspective from someone who has experienced a wide variety of technology launches and creatively solved sticky problems? Let’s talk!