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Trust & attention

Over the weekend I received a marketing email from a real estate company advertising their new mobile app. I didn’t download it.

Nowadays, every company and brand seems to have a mobile app. If you don’t already have one for your organization, I bet many of you have thought about creating one. This is natural given how profound the shift to mobile has been.

But I can’t help but feel like we are overestimating the kind of attention that many of these apps will receive. App usage is highly concentrated. We’ll spend hours on Instagram, but almost every other app in existence gets ignored.

I love how marketer Seth Godin puts it: “the two scarce elements of our economy are trust and attention.” Attention is not scalable. Each of us have a finite amount of attention to give. And there’s lots of competition for it.

At the same time – to borrow Godin’s thought process – a lot of people will sacrifice trust for the sake of attention. We overpromise because we become desperate. I mean, if you think about it, every company or organization is trying to figure out how to get you to pay attention to them.

But I’d like to think that trust can also help you garner attention. Once I trust someone or some organization, I’m more likely to give them the time of day. They’ve earned it. And I feel like that’s where things are headed in today’s information economy.

Trust and attention. Think about it. They’re pretty powerful things, no matter how you spend your days.

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