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  • Su Guillory

HEY YOU! Getting the Attention of Your Audience and Keeping it

Exposure, attention, and perception. These are three basic processes of marketing, and are worth developing so you don’t alienate your target audience at this basic level. All three are necessary conditions for successful communication. Played right, they’re also your opportunity to stand out in a crowded marketplace and get your audience’s attention.


Exposure is the process by which the consumer comes into (physical) contact with a stimulus. The factors influencing exposure include the position of an ad within a medium and distribution and shelf placement.

Susan: A good example of exposure would be a prominent end cap display in a store or a strategically placed product mention on a website. The Buy One Get One ad on an ecommerce site will have higher exposure than the products lower on the page.

Taking that “standing out” to the extreme, we see annoying pop-up ads on websites. While it would seem exposure of these ads would be high, we’ve been conditioned to ignore them.

Attention is the process by which an individual devotes mental activity to a stimulus. To attract attention you must use personally relevant stimuli or pleasant stimuli. Personally relevant stimuli include self-relevant needs, values, and goals. It may also include dramatic scenes. Pleasant stimuli include using attractive models or using humor in advertising.

Susan: How long do people stay on your website? Most websites get an average of 60 seconds or less per page visit. Not long. It’s a challenge for marketers to engage visitors for long enough to get them to buy.

Perception is when stimuli are registered/interpreted by one of our five senses: vision (color), hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Sensory stimuli are not simply absorbed; they are built in our minds.

Susan: I’ll bet you’ve seen a commercial for food on television that made you hungry. That’s a successful example of perception. To engage a viewer to the point of triggering a sense is difficult (especially since we don’t yet have Smell-O-Vision at home) but when you can achieve it, you get instant sales.

Taken as a whole, exposure, attention, and perception are very important factors in marketing. When thinking about new products/services, one must look at these three concepts and interpret them thoroughly.

Susan: Take a good look at your ads, marketing, and products.

  1. Are your products placed prominently so that they’re easy to find and easy to pick up?

  2. Can you get more exposure for your products by getting it into new distribution?

  3. How well do you keep the attention of potential customers?

  4. Can you inject humor or something unexpected in your advertising to prolong the attention? (Add video to your website; it’s a great attention-keeper)

  5. Do you engage the senses?

  6. Is your ad visually (or insert other sense here) appealing? Is there room for improvement?

written by Natalie Grbic

#attention #exposure #perception #smallbusinessmarketing

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