Your attention please

It seems like there’s tons of activity in Colorado relating to capturing “clickstreams” and attention data. I’ve also been meeting some pretty amazing people lately who are involved in optimizing what I’ll call “traditional” web marketing (keyword search, opt in campaigns, etc). I thought it would fun to put these people in a room and discuss the ideas behind the “attention economy” around. To understand attention based marketing, you need only understand the scarce resource on the web (or in any media these days for that matter) – namely attention. So if you can figure out a way to change marketing from “random ads” to something that is focused on what you know the user cares about, it quickly becomes valuable to the user.

The crew on this podcast includes:

  • Dennis Yu, Co-founder of the Social Media Group and former web marketing expert for Yahoo and American Airlines at
  • Stan James, Founder of and author of the AttentionTrust Attention Recorder.
  • Jim Mansfield, Co-founder of Intela, a Boulder based web marketing and media solutions company.
  • David Mandell, Co-founder of Me.dium and self-described marketing madman.

We had also planned to include David Henderson on the podcast. David is a pioneer of the Internet advertising revolution and regularly blogs on attention-related topics. He helped build DoubleClick and MatchLogic. Unfortunantely, he couldn’t join us due to other business, but added his thoughts on a followup podcast.

Here is the podcast, and what follows are the show notes.

Don’t forget about the follow-up podcast with David Henderson’s remarks.

Or, make your life easy and just subscribe to these and future podcasts.

00:00 Introductions of the participants. No intro music Alex – see I listen!

2:30 Jim Mansfield (founder of Intela [intela]) gives us an introduction to web and search marketing today.

4:30 Dennis Yu (co-founder of the Social Media Group [the social corp]) discusses trends in web marketing, and the evolution through various payment models (cost per click, cost per impression, cost per action, etc) through to today’s “pay for performance” model. He also talks about the inefficiencies in the web marketing value chain and the coming squeeze on middlemen.

9:00 Stan James (founder of and David Mandell (founder of Me.dium) discuss the difference between google-like “instantaneous attention” and “activity based attention”, and the new opportunities that arise with the latter. Both are building applications that capture user attention data.

15:00 Stan James talks about the boundaries between different sites and services, and how today each service only has a portion of the overall picture.

16:00 David Mandell says that you can’t discount the “traditional” model and that attention based marketing really just takes things to the next level. He makes a great point that the key to capturing attention is delivering applications that people get real benefits from.

21:30 Dennis Yu says that people focus too much on Internet marketing and neglect word of mouth and the power of combination channels. He suggests that “direct nav” visitors (coming direct to your site) are the most loyal and are more engaged.

23:00 Stan James makes the excellent point that who someone is paying attention to may be more value than just what they’re paying attention to.

24:30 David Mandell talks about the value of being able to track the whole conversation and creating a complete picture of how the thought process evolves and leads to action.

27:30 The group discusses who “owns” attention data (hint: the user) and how users expect to get value from it.

31:00 Stan James says that better attention data means less annoying ads for users. Dennis points out that bad marketing is called “advertisement” and good marketing is called a recommendation. Stan describes his perfect world as a world in which all ads “matter” to you.

32:30 The group discusses whether or not people are creeped out by the whole concept of clickstream capture and how to deal with that.

41:00 Dennis says that 1 to 1 marketing is nothing new and discusses how (he was a project manager) attempted to use the massive amount of data they had on their customers and concluded that demographic and psychographic data is not predictive of transactional behavior.

45:30 Everyone wraps up by summarizing where attention marketing is heading and what impact it will have.

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