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Who will notice your brand, website, or ad today? WHY?

By January 25, 2022No Comments

Is your marketing THE BEST of today’s 3,000 messages?

According to marketing legend Seth Godin* in Fast Company, “This year, the average consumer will see or hear 1 million marketing messages that’s almost 3,000 per day.  No human being can pay attention to 3,000 messages every day.”

Seth’s larger point is this:

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. Thirty years ago, people gave you their attention if you simply asked for it. You’d interrupt their TV program, and they’d listen to what you had to say. You’d put a billboard on the highway, and they’d look at it. That’s not true anymore. This year, the average consumer will see or hear 1 million marketing messages – that’s almost 3,000 per day. No human being can pay attention to 3,000 messages every day.

“The interruption model is extremely effective when there’s not an overflow of interruptions. If you tap someone on the shoulder at church, you’re going to get that person’s attention. But there’s too much going on in our lives for us to enjoy being interrupted anymore. So our natural response is to ignore the interruptions [emphasis added].”

And that was 24 years ago–BEFORE the Internet really took off.

That was before Google. Most users were on AOL. I’d like to see updated statistics; I’ll bet that 3,000 number has changed drastically since then. It could have doubled or tripled or more in the past 20 years.

So, how will your marketing be one of the few that readers remember?

Until you have a clear answer, do no further marketing.

Below are two ads, before and afterThey’re both for Lorne MacLean, one of British Columbia’s leading divorce lawyers, back from when he was opening a high-end family law firm in Vancouver, Canada.  When launching his new firm, he needed to build quick visibility and name recognition within the local legal community, to build buzz and referrals on a tight budget. Below is his original ad: “Man in suit looking at paper.” Not especially compelling.

Frankly, he could have run this ad 100 times and not generated a penny of revenue. No one would notice it sitting on the magazine page right next to the article they were reading. Nothing about it grabs you.

Here’s our upgrade:

The “wedding cake” ad was designed to be noticed.

It immediately grabs the readers’ attention.  It conveys the firm’s message with just a glance.  It’s clever, it’s unexpected, it’s mildly humorous. (Clients aren’t necessarily looking for “funny” divorce lawyers, but this campaign targeted lawyer referrals and only ran in legal publications. We had a separate advertising and marketing directed at generating new prospects.)

Most importantly, readers will remember it and talk about it long after they’ve turned the page.

The very first day it ran it generated big buzz within the legal community. Referrals started flowing.  If you have a tight budget (and who doesn’t?), then you have to work harder to get your message across. Remember, “good” doesn’t stand out from today’s 3,000. Or 10,000.

To cut through the clutter, you have to be absolutely GREAT.  

Today, 20 years later, Lorne runs British Columbia’s largest and finest family law firm. And he’s still pushing creative envelopes. Because it works.

*Seth’s not often wrong, but this quote from that same 1998 article made me smile: “I guarantee you that by the year 2000, Internet banner ads will be gone.” Gone? Yeah, not so much.


“Want a good gift for your associates?

“I’ve got the ideal gift idea. Give them Ross Fishman’s ‘The Ultimate Law Firm Associate’s Marketing Checklist, a 150-page, well-written, engaging and very practical guide—no, make that, bible—to show associates what they need to do to begin to build internal and external networks and eventually establish a book of business.

“Marketing Checklist offers associates who are early in their careers simple, real-world tips to develop their reputation among the partners at the firm, first, and for more senior associates, it provides tips on how to generate clients.” And the new complementary Partner version helps them work more closely with the associates.

– Of Counsel magazine, Editor Steve Taylor’s “Taylor’s Perspective”)