Web Commentary: Competing in the Attention Economy

By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor

Did you know...Disney desn't sell amusement park tickets or products? Rather, they sell an experience, and they are competing for your free time to do so.

This is one of the messages Constellation Research Founder R "Ray" Wang delivered at Episerver Ascend 2015 in Las Vegas when he spoke to a crowd of marketers, developers and other professionals interested in learning more about improving their digital experiences.

For those who have missed some of this Fall's biggest "customer-day" type technology shows, know this: There is an attention economy where advocacy, engagement and time is as good as currency. Capitalizing on the attention economy can only happen, however, when content is delivered in relevant ways across channels before, during and after the sale.

Keynote Cliff Notes: What You Missed Get a roundup of best practices, software updates and emerging trends discussed at this year's tradeshows at /subscribe/".

While many savvy marketers have known this for quite some time and may be using solutions from the likes of Episerver, SAP, Sitecore, DNN, Monetate (and the list ges on) to do so, creating the amount of content needed to speak to customers/readers/users 1:1 presents a resource burden that most brands have failed to minimize - as copy, graphics, photos, suggestions and other creative content needs to be changed to address users' wants and needs. The demand, however, is there and the available data is a big part of that.

At Ascend 2015, Episerver gave attendees an exclusive preview of "Profile Store" and its ability to aggregate user data from channels like Instagram, searches and website behavior. To put this type of information to good and immediate use, brands can prioritize user personas - and, in turn, reduce the amount of content needed to be created.

Episerver customer Mud Pie, for example, has three distinct filters on its site: baby items, fashion and living. A first-time visitor receives a generic "Welcome" message and a promotional offer to incentivize the initial purchase. Once Mud Pie is able to identify which products the user is interested in, Episerver will serve the correct content based on that persona. Even with its agency of record, Whereorware, and marketing automation company Silverpop, it would be too time consuming to update all channels (with images, copy, promotions) to more than a few segments, so Mud Pie has wisely selected to personalize high-trafficked pages based on past purchases, product type intent and more. For example, someone looking at a baby item, will now see emails and landing pages based on that product and category (rather than Mud Pie's living or fashion lines).

Not every company - retailer, service provider or information publisher - will be able to invest in a new Web content management system or a marketing automation platform in the New Year, but those who want to compete in the attention economy will have to make strides to deliver personalized content soon. When ready, their software and technology-related decisions should be fueled by how the product will help them personalize experiences at scale and what profile data those experiences will be based on.

If buyers spend their limited free time investing in a brand (e.g. viewing content, completing forms), enterprises will have to invest in them too. This starts with leveraging technology that allows enterprises to speak to users personally and, thus, get and maintain their attention in this changing economy.