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Marketers Must Navigate The Extreme Nature Of Customer Attention: Amish Tripathi

The author of the Shiva Trilogy and Ram Chandra series says technology has been both a boon and bane for marketers

Several facets of marketing have changed over time, creating a confusion of sorts on how best to approach content as part of the marketer's arsenal. What defines good content, what goes behind crafting it and how can a marketer strategize for it, are only some of the points that will come in focus on July 28, when Amish Tripathi, who has authored bestsellers such as the Shiva Trilogy and is now in the midst of penning the Ram Chandra series, will be on the hot seat. Tripathi will be present in a conference marking the launch of the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook 2017-18 that this year looks at the ADC - AI, data and content in marketing.
 
In a conversation with BW Businessworld, ahead of the conference where he is among the notable speakers, Tripathi explains that the proliferation of smart phones and growth of social media has impacted the very manner of consumers absorbing content. A by-product has been further reduction in attention span, especially in the case of Millennials and Generation Z, across geographies.
 
"The drastic reduction in average attention span has created a problem for anyone who generates content. That being said, the mistake that content creators make is the focus on the lack of attention spans. They fail to notice that the rise in technology has led to an interesting play-out of the Aristotelian law of the excluded middle - either you get no attention or very lavish attention; average attention is history," Tripathi reflected.

The generation today is known to binge watch or a buy a complete book series and finish reading in a few days. "My generation was not known to do that. For instance, I am a Rajnikant and an Amitabh Bachchan fan but I cannot watch 10 movies of theirs one after the other. We are in an era of either 'extreme attention' or 'no attention'. And when we get attention, it is of such high quality that it makes it more than worth it for content generators."
 
The Case of Extremes
For a marketer, the key question would be how to navigate a situation such as this. Tripathi explains that there is no easy answer. "There was a time when the entire marketing world moved from print to TV ads. The transition did not work well for many because the model itself was different. New guys emerged who just got TV. Today, there are those who think an ad for Facebook is not very different from that on TV. The principles of engagement may be the same but the approach and manifestation is radically different. Some people get it instinctively and some don't," he explains.
 
Tripathi reminds that the TV ad world was one of monologue, whereas the social media ad world is one of dialogue, where if people don't like something, they will go to town with it, and marketers will have to deal with this change.
 
In context to addressing audiences from marketing land at the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook launch, Tripathi reiterated that his key message would be to reassert that social has changed the world, and it is very difficult for brands to 'control' their image and perceptions. Authenticity and genuine messages are very strong requirements.
 
"There was once a time when it was alright for a product to not match the marketing promise. With social media, the product, and by that I mean the holistic brand experience for the consumer, has become far more important. Brands heads are not custodians anymore - they are more like supporters. If the product does not match the message, an exact opposite brand impression will be formed," he added.
 
Within a company, as time goes, the relative power of marketing may decline and marketers will have to align with the 'experience', managing the moment of truth. There is this and more that Tripathi would be delving on, as he is questioned on the subject by Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands at the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook launch on July 28.


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