Two-Minute Drill Marketing

I have three seconds to grab your attention.


If you are still reading this piece, then I’ve accomplished my objective. If you’ve drifted off, you represent the majority of business readers who suffer from a common form of attention deficit disorder. That’s why e-marketing communication must be short, sweet, and direct. You need to get to the point quickly or else your efforts are wasted.

This concept goes completely against the instincts of most marketing pros. We all have the tendency to overload the customer with content. We associate quality with volume.

The rules of digital marketing emphasize succinct communication.

Think about it. When was the last time you read an electronic newsletter in its entirety?

This rule applies to all companies, regardless of brand strength. If you think your company’s brand is important enough to command attention, forget it! It doesn’t work that way. In fact, larger companies are often the worst offenders, relentlessly carpet-bombing their customer with too much information.

Less is truly more.

This puts a lot of pressure on today’s marketers. You have to grab readers, convert them into prospects, and maintain their attention all in a matter of seconds. It’s a totally different challenge than direct marketing. There, a physical piece of collateral, such as a catalog or datasheet, can sit on a desk for days or weeks before the recipient gets around to responding. For digital collateral, the trash bin is only a few keystrokes away.

So what are the keys?

1. Short, powerful messages

With all apologies to marketing purists, sound bites are the most effective way to grab the attention of the reader. The challenge today is to deliver short, meaningful messages that will initiate a conversation with your audience. You have to pack a punch into 50 words or fewer.

2. Consistency

If you lose a customer once, there is a 99 percent chance she will never come back. One of the keys is to remain consistent in your approach. You have to deliver value every time you communicate with your audience. If you annoy, irritate, or misinform them once, you will lose them forever.

3. Simplicity

Write to communicate, not to impress. Jargon, technobabble, and acronyms only confuse the reader. Keep it straightforward, write simply, and communicate a point. I dedicated an article to this subject a couple of months ago.

4. Integration

The poor coordination of marketing efforts can result in communications that overwhelm the target audience. It’s important to consider the timing and sequence in which your collateral is delivered. I’ve seen too many companies simultaneously deploy an entire arsenal of marketing material, with little consideration of how much their readers can consume.

5. Testing

I’m a big proponent of testing your marketing strategy before implementing a full-blown program. A small amount of testing can save a tremendous amount of money and time. If you plan to use newsletters or emails, testing can be performed very easily. It’s worth the effort if you consider the consequences of alienating your audience.

In Search of the Perfect Formula

So, what is the perfect mix? How much email is too much? What is the optimal length for a newsletter or a white paper? I wish I had the answers or the magical algorithm to share with you, but I don’t. What I can tell you is that your business intuition is often more effective than you think. Consider the following: If you received an email newsletter eight days in a row from the same vendor, would you be annoyed?

I hope I met the challenge and kept your attention throughout this article. If you’ve made it this far and have any other suggestions, examples, or questions, I would be glad to hear them.

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