Lessons on maintaining consumer attention. 

By Amber Hudson

Canadians were collectively stunned as we watched the newsreels of the apocalyptic-like Fort McMurray fire.  Our hearts were captured and our wallets flipped open to help as best we could.

Sadly, the fire will burn longer than our attention span.  We move on quickly because we’re tapped out. Microsoft has even published a study identifying the average adult attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds over the last five years. The benchmark: goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds (serious).  

There is a marketing lesson here. Any new product or event needs both an immediate and longer term plan to stay top of mind. About 7 in 10* new products decline in their second year, overwhelmingly because both public and employee attention spans fizzle out.  To generate ongoing support (financial, emotional or otherwise) marketers must look beyond the immediate term and keep the stories newsworthy and relevant over the long term.

Our hearts go out to the nearly 90,000 Canadians displaced by the fire.  We hope the stories will soon turn to good ones of people returning home and rebuilding their lives.

*AC Nielsen BASES