Feb 19

All Marketing is An Interruption — Thinking Outside In

Some co-workers recently gave me a copy of  Mike Tennant’s The Age of Persuasion — a great book about how we ended up in such a message saturated, marketing-is-everywhere world.  Great book, loaded with fascinating anecdotes from the history of marketing.

One point from the book stuck with me.  He says, “all advertising is an interruption” — meaning that very few of us seek out advertisements.  They interrupt us doing whatever it is that we were intending to to.

The same is true of all of types of marketing.  When’s the last time you woke up thinking,  “today is the day I hope someone will try to convince me to buy a new widget” or “I sure do hope that Company X will email me today.”


The answer is, of course, never.  But the implications are significant — and largely ignored.   While most of us don’t generally go around looking for interruptions, we will tolerate them under two conditions:

1)  We’re interrupted by something that entertains us.

2) The interruption contains valuable information — that is, it teaches us something useful that we didn’t know.

And yet, most of the marketing we see does neither.  Instead, it asks us to care about what some vendor wants us to care about.  And guess what?   We respond with apathy.  This shows up as low click-through rates, poor webinar attendance, flat web traffic, low numbers of product trials, etc.

So let’s think about it differently.  If we want our message to be absorbed, let’s first start with something interesting enough for our prospects to listen.  In other words,  ‘outside-in.’      Have we done something compelling, funny, or interesting enough to justify the interruption?  If not, let’s rethink.

Outside-in is the only way to cut through the clutter.

Start today. Are the programs you have slated for this week going to entertain?  Inform?




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