How The Attention Age Is Killing Your Business

The other day we talked about how six areas of information overload combined into a perfect storm to create The Attention Age… An era in which your prospect’s attention is the most valuable asset you can have.

We also talked about the spillover effects that it’s had on our ability to focus, think critically and get things done.

But all our talk has been about how we’ve been influenced as consumers of information. What about as entrepreneurs? What about as marketers and business owners? How have those roles been impacted?

Let’s dip back into The Attention Age Doctrine and see how you got an economic edge in every age since the dawn of time…

10 Million Years Of Success Secrets…

Since the dawn of time, there have been specific ways to enhance your economic value to the world around you. Skills you needed to make yourself more prominent, more important and more wealthy. Even back in the stone age…

Up until about 8000 BC mankind lived in a Hunter/Gatherer society. We were nomads. Following our food supply wherever it led us. It was a simpler (albeit slightly more dangerous) time. When your economic value was based solely on whether or not you were able to hunt and kill stuff.

But then we began to master our environment. We learned to live off the land rather than just chasing after our next meal. Enter the Agricultural age. A time when your economic success was based largely on land ownership and / or your farming skills. The more land you owned or the better you could manage that land, the more success came your way.

During the Agricultural age pretty much everything was done individually by hand. Not the most efficient means of production. So as folks developed better ways of doing things, we evolved into the Industrial age. An era of assembly lines and mass production. During this era your economic value was determined by how much and how efficiently you could produce and deliver anything. (Henry Ford is probably the best known poster boy for this age.)

As industrial technology transformed into digital technology, we shifted into the Information age. A time when things like satellites and computers began to give the world unprecedented access to information. And predictably your economic value came from how much you knew. The catchphrase “Knowledge is Power” really came into its own.

And as the information age continued to mature, we eventually found ourselves the Communication age. A booming era of technology that started linking us all together. During this era, an entrepreneurs’ biggest economic advantage came from a “sub-era” I called the “age of interruption” — where your ability to reach out and inject yourself into the lives of your prospect became paramount.

In every era your success depended on the particular skills you had. But the bottom line is your ultimate success depends how well you adapt to the requirements of the age you live in now. Let me explain what happens when you don’t adapt…

The Risks of Falling Behind

In every era throughout history, the world has given its inhabitants the opportunity to gain a huge edge in whatever it was they were doing. You have to keep up with the times. And today, as the attention age builds up a full head of steam, you need to leverage the tools and strategies that work best.

If you don’t, you’re headed for trouble.

Here’s what I wrote nearly ten years ago in The Attention Age Doctrine:

In a previous report I wrote about my love of tennis.

I remember as a kid watching the legendary Bjorn Borg. At the time Borg played with a wooden racket, like everyone else. And he won a lot of major titles.

Then he retired.

A couple of years later he came back, but by then all the top tennis players were using more powerful rackets (metal, graphite, etc.).
It wasn’t pretty what happened to Borg. Inferior players with better rackets creamed him. He stayed loyal to his wooden racket never to win another major tournament

Obviously, Borg knew the rules of tennis. He still had the same winning strokes. But the context and, consequently, the rules for winning changed. The more powerful rackets gave a competitive advantage to anyone who used them. Borg with his weaker wooden racket didn’t stand a chance. That’s why he was never successful again.

Just to be clear… Borg might of still been a “better” tennis player – but his talent was shut-down by the changing environment.

Bjorn Borg’s story is our story… The rules of the game have changed, and many of us are struggling. We are still trying to win with a wimpy racket pretending that we are playing in the same world we were in ten years ago.”

So what’s the bottom line?

How Do You Command Attention in the Attention Age?

How do you stand out? How do you get noticed and attract a steady stream of prospective buyers in an era when the next distraction could derail all your efforts?

By creating a better more perfect product? By sharing more and more 5 star information? By tracking your prospects across the internet with retargeting popups that inject themselves into whatever your prospect was previously doing?

Nope. These are all past ways of doing things.

In the attention age, all the traditional means of gaining an economic advantage have fallen by the wayside.

Today you need to be able to do something else. And in my next post we’ll talk about that…

In the meantime, how has the attention age impacted you in your business? And what have you done to overcome this latest challenge to your success? Share your story in the comments section below.