By: Andy Levitt
Over the holiday weekend, I took my cousin's two children for a walk. I created a little game, offering a prize for the child who could guess the length of time we would be walking. Both were thrilled by their sudden good fortune to win something. But what would they win?
I posed the question to them, giving them the opportunity to decide on their prize. After I crushed their dreams of trips to California or five million dollars (sorry, kids), one of them said, “OK Andy, how about total attention?” I curiously asked what that meant. He told me that it would just be me and the winner, out for a bike ride, with no other distractions that could get in the way. He told me that meant no cell phones, no Blackberries, no other adult conversation – just all attention focused on the winner so they would feel special. Smart kid.
His comment really resonated with me, and it made me wonder what it can teach us about marketing. Could companies provide ‘total attention’ to their best customers? Or even to most of their customers? And what effect might that have on their market share, loyalty and profitablilty?
It also struck me that the idea of ‘total attention’ is the reason why word of mouth is so effective. Conversations between people who trust one another for insights, having a meaningful interaction, with an exchange of ideas that matter. And it works because it’s personal. It’s a sharp contract to the ads that interrupt us, that are not at all relevant, and which generally fail to create change.
Aren’t you still amazed by Google and how they present search results to you? It’s as if they know you (well, actually, they do). And it’s that level of engagement and personal information – or as my 6-year old marketing guru Jordan would refer to it as ‘total attention’ – that makes them remarkable.
We’re not Google, of course – but we’re getting closer to providing an exquisite level of service to the people who participate with us. We want our clients to know they are special. And we want the consumers who participate with us to feel that way, too.
We’re setting the bar high, but know that it will make a difference in how we are perceived in the industry. And we’ll be proud to have earned the accolades for delivering on that ideal of total attention.