“Make Me Care” The 3 Most Important Words in Marketing

by David Heitman

Inundated as people are by literally thousands of marketing messages each day, they have become quite adept at filtering 99% of it out. It’s a survival instinct of sorts.

Yet marketers are tasked with short-circuiting that anti-clutter reflex in order to get a message through to an audience.

Success is defined by getting people to care—and to care quickly—about your idea, your company, your policy or your product.

In other words, success in marketing, especially online, depends largely on two things:

  1. Velocity
  2. Intensity

With online communications, velocity of attention acquisition is particulalry critical. Because there’s a Jimmy Fallon video just waiting around the digital bend if your message is too long or too complicated…or the worst crime of all: if it’s boring.

Recent research suggests that the human attention span has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds. That would be one second less than a goldfish’s. Maybe that explains why Vine—a six-second video clip platform—is now the world’s fastest-growing social media app. Further evidence that getting people to care and to care quickly is crucial to those early stages of audience engagement at the top of the funnel.

But beyond velocity of message delivery—even if you’ve somehow earned a few minutes of the audience’s time—getting to the “Make Me Care” stage of engagement is the key.

Take this story from a recent NPR All Things Considered interview:

“Before Mike Rowe was the host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, he was selling knick-knacks on the QVC cable network in the middle of the night. He got the job after winning a bet in a Baltimore bar.

His friend Rick was working at the Mount Royal Tavern. Instead of having the football game on the TV, Rick was tuned into “a heavy guy in a shiny suit selling pots and pans.” QVC was holding auditions the next day, and Rick was watching the channel to prepare.

Rowe told his friend that he also wanted to audition, but Rick wasn’t convinced. He bet $100 that Rowe couldn’t get a call back. The next day, Rowe went to the audition.

“It was absurd,” he says. “They rolled a pencil across the desk, and the guy said, ‘Pick up the pencil and start talking about it. Make me want it.’ “

 Rowe was hired on the spot and scheduled on QVC’s overnight shift.”

So before launching a hail of bullet points and or a salvo of features, it might be worthwhile to acquire that Mike Rowe-like ability to make something—anything—important enough to care about.

And who knows? You might get more than eight seconds to do it.