Marketing in This World of 50 Nanosecond Attention Span

on April 22, 2014 Sales and Marketing with 7 comments
Customer Attention Span


Ok, so 50 nanoseconds may sound exaggerated, perhaps it is more like 2 seconds. The main point is, today’s consumers are bombarded with so much advertising every day, they have systematically tuned themselves out of these messages. Each person has their own filters that would capture their attention. So as a small business, getting more customers is not as simple as spending on advertising. The more you spend on advertising media does not equate to more sales. You need to get your message across. Here’s what to do that could help improve your advertisements.


What to do:

  • Don’t create an ad that states what your business does or give a “hey, we’re here” message. i.e. If you had a gelato store and wanted to place an ad in the community newspaper, don’t out an ad with the headline “Acme Gelato, The Community’s Favourite Gelato Store”, along with the address and map. An ad is not a yellow pages listing. People read newspapers for news, not to find your business. Instead, have a call to action like a discount coupon or a promotion. Retail research has shown that consumers today are so spoiled, they will only be convinced to make a purchase when there is a sale of more than 10-20%.
  • Don’t cramp too many things into your ad by adding all the great features of your product, and trying to convince them at the same time to come and make a purchase. Most of the time, your advertising audience is not in a captive environment. You may only have 2 seconds to grab their interest. Instead, pick one feature and focus on the end result. i.e. Don’t sell the resort destination facilities and activities, sell the result. Relax, fun, sun, great company.
  • Don’t create the ad to target everyone, you will end up reaching no one. Instead, find out your customer profile, and speak to it. If your customer profile are techies and you own a computer store or service, then use that lingo, and speak to their desire and what your product can do for them.
  • Use images in your ad.
  • Use a good headline.


The headline is a big part of the battle won. If you were able to catch the attention by stopping a consumer in their tracks whether walking by or reading past a page, the chances of an action increases. Here’s how to make a good headline?

  • Be specific.
  • Don’t make it too long to read.
  • Talk about benefits (end result) not the features. As a consumer yourself, think about “what’s in it for me?”. Then translate that into your headline or sub headline.
  • Make the headline relevant to your target audience.
  • Questions make great headline. “Would you like more time to do the things you love?”. “Would you like an energy efficient LED bulb that can pay for dinner once a year?”.
  • Retailers can use direct discount headlines. “Save 40% off our clearance stock this weekend!”.


If there is one point to take away, it is this. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Then think “what’s in it for me?”.

Dan Tan



  • Subir Bose
    on April 26, 2014 Reply

    Good stuff

  • Amar Ahluwalia
    on April 27, 2014 Reply

    I want to start a buiness in Dubai.

    • Dan Tan
      on April 27, 2014 Reply

      That’s great! Any specific question you like to ask?

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    on May 20, 2014 Reply

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  • Dan Tan
    on July 24, 2014 Reply

    Hi, you can try this. Tks

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