Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing With Shorter Attention Spans

Mediapost featured a story from a 20-something year old, (Gen Y), that gives some tips on how to deal with shorter attention spans.

Don't think it's just Gen Y.

I know 60 year olds who have this same condition.

As a matter of fact, it's not just a generational thing, it's a lifestyle thing. So, everyone ought to pay attention to this:

How To Break Through Gen Y's ADD
My generation -- Gen Y -- is the most over-stimulated group of people there will likely ever be. We came into a rapidly evolving world of technology, with TVs in every room of our childhood houses and our phones buzzing every five minutes with a text from a friend.

The good thing is that this is an evolution and some brands -- such as Mint.com and Hipmunk -- are snagging Gen Yers by breaking through that mass of confusion-inducing, Flash-saturated websites to put together a model of working with Gen Y consumers.

Perfect Your User Interface Take a look at Orbitz.com and then check out Hipmunk.com. It's pretty easy to guess which one has venture capitalists falling over themselves to back.

Hipmunk is revolutionizing travel search by stripping its website to a uber-functional search engine and removing all of the distractions. The search results let you sort by a number of criteria and make it easy to see which flights have WiFi.

Hipmunk makes it easy to focus because it's streamlined and functional. There is very little chance I will click on a banner and break away from my path to booking.

Remind to Retain One of the top iPhone apps in a survey from L2 ThinkTank of Gen Y affluents is Mint.com. The financial management website with bank-level security pulls in your checking, savings, investment, and credit card accounts to make budgeting a cinch.

It's free, it has the simplest interface of any of the popular financial websites and it has a brilliant system of reminders about everything from upcoming bills and low checking account balances to notices that I'm paying more than the average Mint.com user for car insurance.

Mint.com becomes somewhat indispensable for Gen Y users who are risk averse when it comes to investing, according to a recent survey from MFS Investment Management. The worry of managing your money is at least relieved a little by this amazing system of notices and reminders.

Take that one step further, how awesome would it be to have my local J. Crew send me a notification that the pants I wanted are now in stock in my size?

Set it and forget it.

Hire Amazing Copywriters Know what you want to say and get people who can convey that in a simple, clever, straightforward manner.

Cut out the clutter of your product descriptions and sales messages to grab a Gen Y user's attention, hold on to it and convert a sale. From a website to a brochure or flyer, copywriting should be a priority.

The multi-screen, multi-tab Gen Y consumer is unlikely to become any more focused in the near future, so design well, follow-up often and write the best copy you possibly can.

Patrick Evans is a Gen Y member marketing to Gen Y consumers as marketing and communications manager at STA Travel, the youth travel expert enabling students and young adults to explore the world by creating experiences filled with adventure, discovery and personal growth. Chat with him on Twitter at @statravelUS or @thatpatrick.

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