When exposing your audiences to marketing content, you must first grab their attention before that content can begin to have an effect. One method of capturing your audience’s attention is by making your content easy for them to process. There are a couple of obvious ways to achieve this, such as ensuring that your content is experienced with minimal distractions or contrasting it with competing stimuli to make it stand out. A more effective technique, however, is to make the content personally relevant to the audience. But how do we achieve this?
Consumer involvement is the key to maximizing attention with personal relevance. As marketers, we should have the ability to show our audience how the acquisition and consumption of our product are of personal interest to them. There are two types of involvement that we can evoke in consumers, along with a third that combines them.
This first type of involvement happens over a short time and ties to a specific, and sometimes urgent, situation. Take for example the now several air conditioning companies that put up billboards with the catchphrase “your wife is hot, better get your a/c fixed.” Sure, it’s catchy and humorous, but it’s not meant to appeal to every person that views it, but rather for people who, at that specific time, have a faulty air conditioning unit. And, if you live in a state like Florida, that is certainly an emergency.
This type of involvement is associated with a consumer’s long-time commitment or concern with a product class. One example of wielding this type of consumer involvement in marketing is when companies in the beauty industry sponsor beauty YouTubers to promote their products. These YouTubers often have many followers who, through the very act of subscribing, are stating their interest in the beauty product category as a whole. By working with them, beauty suppliers can reach a ready-made audience who they know has an enduring involvement with their offerings.
When Situational and Enduring Involvement Combine
Consumer response is even more heightened when both of the above types of consumer involvement are combined. Think of the Marvel movie franchise. With around 30 movies having been released so far, many fans have followed the storyline closely for several years. Those fans are often the ones who purchase Marvel-themed merchandise, from keychains to Lego sets. The release and promotion of this merchandise are ramped up around the time that a new movie in the franchise is released, because that specific event combines with the long-time interest of fans, making them more likely to pay attention to the promotional material in that time.
These three examples demonstrate how a marketer can speak to an audience’s personal involvement to grab their attention. Of course, the marketing content has to be able to go beyond gaining a consumer’s attention. It has to be impactful and memorable enough to get them to seriously consider converting into a paying customer. But the first step of attention is crucial, and addressing how your product has personal relevance to your audience is an excellent way to get them to be receptive to your message.