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social media management, blog writing services, marketing consultancy cornwallWhat are you doing right now?

You’re reading this, right?

But what else are you doing?  Is the radio on, the TV, are you texting, playing a computer game, reading, talking?

A recent study* published in Marketing Week suggests that over 60% of us watch TV and surf the internet at the same time.  This constant multi-tasking is changing how we do things and how we think, which means companies are facing unique challenges to get our attention.

Here are Marketing Week’s suggestions on how businesses can adapt to this strange new world, keeping customers interested and converting leads into sales.

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Your customers are busy - make your marketing easy to digest, useful and valuable

1.  Appeal to short attention spans

Are you still with me?

Since I’ve been writing this I’ve received two email alerts, telling me I’ve got new messages.

My phone has an unread text on it; I’ve got a brand new copy of Red magazine sitting upstairs just waiting to be devoured.

And I’m watching Harry & Aliona on Strictly Come Dancing – very distracting.

The constant battle for attention is overwhelming, so businesses must ensure messages are to the point, concise, easy to digest, and relevant.

Otherwise, they’ll get lost amongst the clutter.  Twitter is great for this – share top tips, link to interesting articles, and  make sure every tweet you post is relevant to your audience.

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Sights, sound, smells, experiences - they all help to make your brand memorable

2.  Offer a multi-sensory experience

What do Rihanna, Arctic Monkeys, Eminem and KT Tunstall have in common?

They were all part of the line-up at this year’s V festival.  The two-day event is sponsored by Virgin Media, which uses the opportunity to promote its media deals, build its position in the music market, reward its customers and raise its profile amongst the target audience.

This approach to marketing does more than just sell products – it provides experiences that people talk about, share on their social networks, and remember forever.

We don’t all have the budgets of Virgin Media executives, but you can still give your customers an experience beyond just reading one of your adverts.

Open the doors of your business and give customers a chance to try out your product; find out what events your audience attend and tie in with them by making relevant special offers.

Or arrange an event of your own that they’ll love.

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Repeat after me: "We're all individuals" - get creative with your marketing to involve your customers

3.  Make consumers feel important

The survey in Marketing Week suggests that growth in the popularity of game playing, social media and television can mean young people don’t experience the real life events that shape them as a person.

Retailer Ted Baker is currently inviting customers into their stores to be styled and photographed.

The images are then shared on the website, and the photos that receive the most Facebook ‘likes’ can win £500 for the customer to spend in store.

This approach makes consumers feel important.  It involves them in the whole brand.

How could you involve your audience?

Try asking for suggestions on new products, run polls, include testimonials, invite them to upload photos of themselves with one of your products, or give them a behind-the-scenes peek into your business.

See this in practice here: When I Was a Kid founder, Paul Warner, lets us into what’s been going on in his business this week, including a slightly unusual customer complaint, some sad news, and a treat for customers.

What do you think about these new findings from Thinkbox?  Do you agree with them?  Are you multi-tasking right now?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(And head over to the Facebook page and tell us how you multi-task in your business.)

Right, maybe while I’m waiting for this to save I’ll take a quick look at that text message….

* Thinkbox, cited in Marketing Week, 20/10/11