When you want to get – and keep – your target market’s attention, consider your competition. No, not your competitors, although you definitely need to be mindful of them. In this case, we mean whatever else in your audience’s immediate environment is commanding their focus at the same time your message is trying to grab their eyeballs.

Atlantic Technology

Kathy Sierra, author of software instructional books for publishing house Head First, is known within the industry for her insightful observations of how people learn. According to Sierra, we consist of both brain – which is hard-wired to detect lurking saber tooth tigers and react appropriately – and mind – which attempts to impose order upon the chaos of external stimulus.

Writes Sierra, “The belief that we have 100% conscious control over what we pay attention to is a myth. The belief that users can and will choose to pay attention to our message/ad/docs/product/lesson/etc. is a mistake. So what can we do to up the odds of getting and keeping attention?… If you want the mind’s attention, you can’t ignore the brain.”

The secret: be more provocative and interesting than anything else in your target market’s environment. For example, your POP display for that big box CE retailer might be right across the aisle from a full-color life-size cardboard cutout of Fergie in the music section. Guess which one your young male demographic is more likely to notice. To increase the chance of your print ad, banner ad, product packaging or POP display having its intended effect, Sierra recommends the following:

Be Visual – The more stimulating the better. Considering the sensory overload in those big box retailers, a POP display that visually taps the consumer on the shoulder is essential.

Be Different – When you do what everyone else is doing, or what you’ve always done, those target market brains “relax” instead of getting your message, and continue to scan for something new in their environment. Writes Sierra, “Ways to be different include doing the opposite of what you normally do, or doing something expected in a different domain, but which is wildly unique in yours.”

Change Things Regularly – Look at your ad campaign, media mix, etc. Don’t be the company that’s been running essentially the same print ad for the past 10 years. Trust us, nobody sees it anymore.

Inspire Curiosity – “Just try to walk by a TV playing a quiz show and not think about the answer to the question you heard walking by,” Sierra writes. “Our …brains love curiosity.”

Incorporate these suggestions into your advertising and marketing campaign, and consumers’ brains will keep your brand in mind.

Presented by EVOK Advertising, an agency specializing in consumer electronics. To learn more, visit us at www.evokad.com. Ideas. Work. Results.