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The Attention Economy

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There was a time when companies would create products and services and then go and find a marketplace in which to sell them. But times have changed. In this Vlog, Grant explains that today, it’s the companies with the customer’s attention that win.

If you ask someone the most valuable asset McDonald’s has, there’s a good chance they tell you it’s the properties they own. If you ask someone, the biggest asset Microsoft has, it would probably be the technological knowhow… And yet that isn’t true.

The most valuable asset both of them have is the attention of the market.

There used to be a time when companies would create products and services and then go and find a marketplace in which to sell them. But times have changed, in a world where everybody owns a media channel, we live in a world of abundance of information and the scarcest resource today on planet earth is attention.

Quite simply, today it’s the companies with your attention that win. Amazon built an entire business without making any of their own products, but what they had was the attention of the marketplace. Uber don’t own any cars or have any drivers, but they have the attention of the marketplace. Airbnb don’t own any properties, but they have the attention of the marketplace.

Effective businesses today no longer create loads of products and services and then keep going and finding markets in which to sell them. Rather, today you think about which marketplace you want to represent and then when you have their attention you can introduce new products and services to that marketplace. It’s often helpful to think in terms of communities.

What makes a community a community? Either they have shared interests or they have shared values. In other words, my next door neighbour and I may not have any shared values, but we have shared interests because we live in the same neighbourhood and things affect us. Alternatively you can have groups that have similar value sets. When you think about the shared interests and values of your community, you can then think about the challenges they have, create content that will engage them and over time introduce new products and services that are relevant to those people.

For example, an accountant might decide that their audience is entrepreneurs. They can then introduce things like venture capital and angel funding, as businesses are looking for investment. They can introduce networks of support, where business owners can speak to each other. To be effective today is really a 180 degree pivot. If you’re struggling to sell the products and services you have, think about the market that you represent and if you really champion them and their challenges and issues, you can then introduce the relevant products and services for them, over time.

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