July 29, 2004

more on attention fragmentation

Backchannelmedia, a consultancy and media buying firm for direct response television, has a new piece up on their site that collects various and sundry stats about attention fragmentation – the ongoing slide of mass media, the rise of video gaming, digital video recording, etc. They argue that…

The combination of atomized consumer markets and digitized media technologies are spreading and speeding this process. When tens of millions of consumers live individualized lifestyles, and utilize individualized media and technology (PCs, PDAs, DVRs, iPods, cell phones, etc.), we are well on the way from mass markets to mass customization - markets of one.

I’m with them…except for the point about mass customization. The argument that marketers will drive all the way to one-to-one marketing underestimates the costs of doing that on an outbound basis, especially with the increasing level of attention fragmentation and channel fragmentation. The technology and culture trends point towards more customer control, not more marketer control, so anyone who wants to play in this game is going to have to give up the ghost of one-to-one marketing and instead enable customers to do their own media mix creation. Smart brands will give customers information and services that are easily syndicated, time-shifted, remixed, reused and repurposed.