Five Factors Affecting Attention in Marketing Communication


Capturing the engaged attention of the intended consumer audience in marketing communications is the fundamental goal of all programs. All the creativity, strategy and media planning goes for nothing if the message does not rise above the din of promotional noise which permeates modern marketing. In our media-saturated world goal can be hard to achieve and severla factors can affect the audience paying attention to your message.

Audience Behaviors

Most people take the three-minute commercial break as their cue to rush to the bathroom or run to the ‘frig for a snack. The option of remotely scanning through 500 channels is also a lure away from getting an audience’s undivided attention to your marketing communications. Channel surfing as well as the TiVo ability to skim over marketing communication messages is a phenonena that marketers are powerless to control. An audience "missing in action" is an audience that is not paying attention to your message.

Competitive Activity

The noise of competitive messages can affect the attention a marketing communication receives. Here budget plays a role in that the brand with the largest budget is proportionately able to buy more opportunities for viewership and hence more chance to grab the attention of the audience. Without the money to compete, a smaller advertiser must up the ante with attention-grabbing message creativity.

Message Pervasiveness

The creativity of the message itself greatly affects attention. Marketers spend millions on the production of TV commercials each year for the big audience TV event, The Super Bowl, but it isn’t always the most expensive TV spots that gets talked about the next day at water coolers across America. Often it is the TV commercial that is more creative or unique or even disturbing that gets the attention. Here the Davids of the ad. world can beat out a Goliath with creative muscle.


Frequency of message delivery is related to attention and indirectly to budget as well. Marketing communication involves learning. Most people need to see a message a number of times before they internalize what’s being said to them and act upon it. A message that is delivered only once will not reach the threshold required to learn and hence its lack of visibility will hinder attention and action.


People tune out communiqués they believe are not intended for them. A commercial for a sale on sirloin steak would fall on death ears if played during a vegan cooking show. Similarly, an ad for a Lamborghini would be out of place in a penny-saver newspaper. You might get a lot of attention but the attention won’t result in sales action so it is useless.

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