Gone Fishin’: Ways To Reel In Your Audience

As a society, we have long joked about the goldfish and its embarrassing attention span. Do you remember watching your pet fish, Bubbles or Nemo or Jaws, in his bowl, eyes jutting from behind your tapping finger? He would swim to the bottom of his glass enclosure and hide behind that sunken pirate ship. You would pity his tiny brain and inability to retain information, but for no more is the gold fish the butt of our jokes.

Recent studies now show that you (and your fellow 21st century citizens) have a shorter attention span than your pet fish.

Throw the once finite number of 12 seconds of coherent thought out the window. Amongst today’s ever stimulating world, most people now lose focus after merely 8 seconds of attention. Doesn’t sound so bad? Goldfish can hold attention for 9 seconds.

Take that in for a second. We’ve been so busy interacting with multiple screens, multiple windows and balancing additional conversations on top of Spotify playlists that we’ve allowed the goldfish to surpass us. It doesn’t look like things will take a turn for the better any time soon, either. With that realization comes challenges for digital marketers and designers alike:

How do you break through the clutter and hold the ever-fleeting attention of your target audience?

Digital Marketing Is A Highway 

Imagine you’re driving down the highway (likely going 70+ if you’re in Texas). Cars are speeding along with you on either side, maybe your kids are in the back incessantly kicking your seat, the radio announces a new Lady Gaga song (what is this, 2013?) and you see a fluffy poodle, tongue waving in the breeze, rolling alongside you with its head hung happily out the window.


The scene you just experienced is no different from today’s digital landscape. Even Facebook, which optimizes its platform based on user experience, can’t stop its users from zooming down their timelines hoping something catches their attention. If our digital networks and platforms are going to act like highways, let’s treat them like one.

Treat your digital ad like you would a billboard. Follow the following principles and you’ll get your messaging across in a memorable way, regardless of those 3 seconds you’ve captured.

  • Try to keep messaging between 3-8 words
  • Make copy skimmable and easy to digest
  • Utilize impactful, to-the-point imagery
  • Create a clear CTA (Call To Action) and navigation
  • Tell stories, pull heart strings
  • Utilize video no longer than 1:30, making the first 8 seconds attention-grabbing
  • Use social platforms that align with your target demographic – Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat tend to have younger audiences because of their fast, fleeting updates. Facebook and Instagram are fairly all encompassing of all ages. LinkedIn skews older.
  • Optimize for all screens – design specific dimensions and tailor your ads per platform

According to Hubspot (a favorite source of us digital marketers), “The average user picks up their phone more than 1,500 times a week.” During work, during dinner, during their favorite shows and even during conversations with their loved ones. If users today can’t even listen to those they care for most without being distracted, how can we get them to view our messages intently? Hubspot experts also noted that on the average web page, a typical user will only read 28% of words during their visit with average page visits spanning only 10-20 seconds.

The best way to combat our decreasing attention spans is to just keep swimming. Design for your audience and make content that is interesting and innovative. Despite our goldfish-like tendencies, people will focus when something catches their attention. The job is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers across the globe, but following these tips can give you an edge over the competition.

Digital marketing is a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. If it is hard for you to keep up, we understand. Don’t struggle through, just let us do it.

Tribu specializes in goldfish nurturing.

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An Introduction To Anthropology In The Marketing World

For years anthropologists have been practicing the art of cultural immersion. It requires the participants to “immerse” themselves in the culture of the group being studied. Unlike other social scientists, anthropologists use methodology that enables them to engage culture in a way that isn’t simply observation from an “outsider’s” perspective. Famous cultural anthropologist and writer Clifford Geertz calls it “looking over the shoulder” or an interpretation of behavior that promises “thin description”.  Anthropology is the study of man or the study of the human condition in order to gain insight on patterns of behavior and culture. In practice it’s a holistic approach or a broad contextual understanding. It begs the question; how do we (human beings) construct meaning and how does it function within the context of our daily lives? It’s no wonder why we feel the need to answer these questions in a world of communication that is becoming increasingly global. With outstanding reach to people around the world, nowadays we find a need for understanding through a lens that isn’t clouded with ethnocentricity. You don’t have to be an anthropologist to recognize this need or to put it into practice.

Take A Page From The Anthropologist’s Notebook

Today, businesses that have access to these global communication channels are finding that understanding culture from an insider perspective is an essential key to success. Intel, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Philips and General Motors are all companies currently using anthropological methods to gather powerful insight on how consumers use products and services in their daily lives. In an extremely complex market, today both domestic and international businesses are re-thinking their strategies to better fit the external environment. Explaining patterns and behaviors of consumers within the marketplace and within the broad context of culture can have a positive impact. Patricia L. Sunderland and Rita M. Denny, Anthropology Ph.D’s and market researchers write in Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research (2007), “From our vantage point, markets are not constituted by segments of people with specific and profiled “needs,” rather they are constituted by systems of interwoven meanings and practices that may or may not have resonance for a product, brand, or experience.”

What Can You Take Away From This?

Why is anthropology important to your business? It’s a strategic and often overlooked marketing tactic. It’s a look into something more than an interpretation of facts and numbers, but a look at the relationship between the market and culture. We, like an anthropologist studying cultures abroad, have to participate in order to understand. We at Tribu feel that is one of the luxuries of having a Tribe. In essence, having a Tribe means having a sustainable relationship with your clients and a coherent understanding of one another that is powerful and effective. We immerse ourselves in the work of our partners and value the efficiency of the relationship. We will continue to use the concept of immersion intuitively as a means of building relationships through understanding and continue to help our partners do the same. That’s the power of the Tribe.


Geertz, Clifford
1973. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. Thick Description. New York: Basic Books.

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Do you know the real value of your customers? Read this!

It is so common now to run into all kinds of Facebook and Twitter pages such as law firms, accounting firms, retail businesses… I mean even the President has a Twitter! It is no surprise that the influence that a customer has through these media is more powerful than most would assume. The potential everyone has to make a thought go viral in a matter of seconds can make or break your business.
Take a look at this article from Forbes written by Anthony Leaper that explains how social media amps up the value of a customer.

The other week my colleague Vinay Iyer posted a blog that looked at how a company might use social media to improve its relationships with their customers. Some companies are already doing this, but it’s also clear that some companies also have a learning curve here about what constitutes a service that customers value and what constitutes stalking.

Stalking aside, this has led me rethink the question of the value of a customer. Once, when life was simpler and there was no such thing as social media, one could often calculate the value of a customer in a relatively straightforward manner: It was a matter of how often, in what volume, and for how long, might this or that customer purchase your product. Do the math, and that was what that particular customer was worth—and you could then make decisions about what you might or might not do for that customer (in terms of discounts, services, etc.) based on the value of that relationship. If your customer was on a contract, that value was particularly easy to assess: simply multiply the rate of the fee (by month, day, or whatever period), by the number of periods and that was the value of a given contract.

That’s far too simplistic a model today. A customer might sign a two-year contract for any number of services—a cell phone, a broadband TV service, software offered as a service, and so on—and the value of that contract is easy to calculate. At, say $100 per month, the value of a two-year cell phone contract is $2,400. But that does not begin to consider the value of the influence a customer might have in the age of social media.

If at some point your company begins to fail to deliver the service that the customer expects, that customer is going to become irritated. If that continues, the irritation will grow and sooner or later, as Vinay’s experience attests, spill over into Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media venues.

This is the outcome you very much want to avoid. Irritated Customers have supportive Friends. They may have a few; they may have thousands. The dangerous fact, though, is this: it almost does not matter how many friends they really have. A single Facebook post that describes a jaw-dropping failure on the part of your company may, if stupefying enough or if told in a funny or snarky manner, be repeated, retweeted, “liked,” and “shared” innumerable times. Then, before you can say Jennifer Anniston Sex Video, the Irritated Customer’s snarky comments about your service have gone viral and everyone—even people several degrees of separation from the Irritated Customer’s set of Friends—is talking about it. Everyone is aware of it. And everyone has been influenced by it.

Suddenly, that single Irritated Customer, whose value may come to $2,400 under the old models of calculation, may have discouraged tens of thousands of your potential customers from considering your service. Ten thousand potential customers lost, at $2,400 per contract, is $24 million in lost revenue over the course of two years.

What would you have spent to have avoided that loss? To what lengths would you have gone to avoided discouraging ten thousand potential customers if you could have?

The answer to those questions begins to help you understand the real value of each customer in today’s world. With the amplifying effect of social media, the value of a customer can be much, much larger than ever before. Certainly not every customer’s comments will go viral. But how many have to go viral for you to feel the impact?

There is a flip side to this, though, that is important to point out: the positiveeffect of a customer’s excitement can be as powerful as the negative effect. If you can discover and address an Irritated Customer’s concerns quickly and effectively, then you have a singular opportunity to convert an Irritated Customer into a Delighted Customer. Their delight, particularly if seen by many in the social media world, may move thousands of people into the column of potential customers who are now predisposed to consider your services—when they may have been on the fence before.

That said, remember my earlier post about the inability of a certain high end automobile manufacturer to replace the failed run-flat tires on my car? Well its back on the road now, and the brand owner was most concerned about my experience! One of their top executives, once he learned of my plight, took every opportunity to expedite resolution and make amends, while seeking to learn how they could do things better in the future. This has inspired serious conflict in Mrs. Leaper’s loyalty to them. She hates the run-flat tires, but has never seen a company take that much interest in making good with the customer before!  Thus, they may have delivered a potentially game changing response, and well done to them!

Ultimately, we can think of this as the Butterfly Effect of social media: one person’s tweet or one person’s status update can become amplified through the power of social media—until that flutter of emotion becomes a virtual cyclone of influence. It could move customers towards you or away from you, and which way it goes really depends on how quickly and effectively you deal with customer concerns. Deal with them quickly and well, and the long term benefits can be huge. Your customers become your advocates, which can be far more helpful than a lot of ads. Fail to do so, and you cannot predict what may fall out as a consequence.

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