Entrepreneurs

Why Customer Attention Is Your Most Valuable Currency

For anyone looking to build a successful digital product, the strategy seems deceptively simple: capture customers’ attention, provide enough value to keep it and meet customers’ needs faster and more seamlessly than the competition.

In the customer journey, attention has become the ultimate commodity. A recent Deloitte survey looking at the true value of customer experience found that positive experiences drive customers to spend 140 percent more than negative experiences. Every moment of customer interaction is critical to success, and when customers don’t immediately see the benefit a product offers, they often don’t come back.

Focus on holistic customer attention, not a directive.

For every digital product in the attention economy today, getting anything less than a holistic overview of how a customers’ attention moves is a missed opportunity for those trying to catch it. This idea was proven out back in the ’80s when writer and theoretical physicist Michael Goldhaber coined the term “attention economy” to describe the notion that every human action is in fact a transaction. Choosing to direct attention to one thing means that you’re simultaneously choosing not to direct it to something else.

Conversion is a prime example. Directing customers’ attention in a way that nudges them to convert is often done through best-guess effort. But the process is far easier when teams can know with certainty which of their product’s attributes generate attention that sticks and which moments of friction turn customers away. Understanding every aspect of the customer journey is crucial for turning that attention into profit.

View data as the holy grail in catching consumer attention.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire new customers, and 2.6 times more likely to have a significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than their competitors. In an economy full of product teams racing to grab customer attention, there is a massive opportunity in relying on data to uncover a product’s breadwinning attributes and major friction points, and then to identify the best ways to lead users to the former.

Data is what allows teams to measure impact and evaluate what adjustments are needed to open customers’ wallets. It fuels the capacity for good decision-making and profit maximization. And data works best when captured automatically, at every interaction point. Because in a highly competitive business environment run by the FAMGA stocks, a limited ability to quickly extract insights that lead to a better product won’t cut it.

Integrate data solutions company-wide for greater ROI.

The good news is that it’s becoming easier than ever to extract those insights as the industry continues to evolve to take advantage of the increasing amount of data available to digital product teams. These growing technologies give companies the tools they need to become data-driven across the entire organization. And this information holds the key to explaining the ROI behind each interaction a customer has with a product.

Data is a huge advantage, and there’s no reason why managing it successfully should be limited to companies that have the resources to do it right. The technology for doing so is available now– companies are able to deliver value to their customers faster by knowing exactly how customers experience the benefits their product offers and where the friction points are. The companies who own their futures are the ones who will leverage data to understand attention and, ultimately, drive revenue. After all, attention is a zero-sum game, and those who can best attract it will win.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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