Whatever the odds, the chances are always 50-50.
Professional magicians, especially those “walk-around” and street performers, who must always work standing up and surrounded, often with initially reluctant deliberators, joke about something that is actually a truism, and which has broad applications; one has 7 seconds to capture audience interest.
We are all subject to it; in fact, right now you are either still reading this, in which case your interest was overwhelmed and apprehended, or you bailed. And why bother commenting on that since you aren’t here to read it?
We all employ it as well, though generally without thinking about it. We subconsciously realize when we are addressing others, especially others we know we must impress right out of the gate to focus their scrutiny as we spin our yarns, we must say or do something out of the ordinary. Magicians often perform some fantastic routine guaranteed to have viewers thinking, “Yep, he/she is a witch,” and many boast being able to do so not in 7 seconds, but 3.
With such generalized understanding of this notion, we may loosely term this affect a law; call it the 7 second law. The effect of gaining the eyeballs of onlookers before they lose concentration.
We live in a world where constant stimuli are ubiquitous, especially those competing for said attention; this then becomes a contest, particularly where Social Media and online marketing strategic planning is concerned.
Allow me to relate a relevant example from my own experience: when I sold used cars (a challenging product if ever there were), the sales manager would take each of his associates out for lunch once a week in turn, demonstrating his satisfaction level for the figures we’d produced by offering an incentive; treating at a restaurant of equivalent caliber. Top performers could expect a delicious, thick steak, all trimmings included, at one of the choicest steakhouses in the area.
It was my turn, and as he drove us to McDonalds (I’d been promised a Happy Meal), we came to a stop light. He happened to turn and see a man to the right of us, whose car windows were rolled down (presumably because it had no functional air conditioning), and from under whose hood brief wisps of smoke were curling. He suddenly had an insight, and commanded me hurriedly to roll my window down.
As I complied, he reached inside his coat pocket, and produced his business card, which he immediately wadded and then threw out of my open window, hitting the man on the side of the face. The suddenly attentive man turned his head with all the speed of a ferret on a double espresso, and glared at me hotly. Not wishing to be involved in the escalating incident (I was fervishly trying to decide between Chicken McNuggets or the cheeseburger), I immediately turned and pointed to my boss, who was animatedly telling the man to, “Pick it up! Pick it up!”
The gent looked a bit astonished, but did as the manager requested. He returned his gaze to his assailant, who now was excitedly pantomiming, saying, “Now open it!”
The hapless fellow once again followed his instructions, taking several moments trying to decipher the piece of paper he was reading. When at last he comprehended what it was he had been hit with and was now holding, my manager smiled broadly and gleefully stated, “Come see me about buying a new car!”
Sudden realization washed over the man, whose face demonstrated several emotions before finally grinning in acknowledgement. That man was on the lot the very next day, and drove home in a late model sedan, pimped out with not only cold blowing air, but cruise control, electronic locks, and power windows. Upselling to this agreeable prospect, who remembered having been so unusually entertained the previous day, was a piece of cake.
Out of the box thinking, to be sure. But what enabled closure of the deal was the manager’s ability to quickly and efficiently gain the man’s initial interest in 7 seconds or less. In this particular case, much less.
And so what can we glean from this risk-laden episode? Maybe that the very same high levels of innovation and original thinking are necessary when undertaking the planning stages of Social Media and online marketing campaign strategies. We have a 7 second window in which to reach new customers, or perhaps established clientele that may be feeling we offer little in terms of new and desirable products or services. Obviously we want to actualize these goals without creating so much turmoil and mental anguish that the customer would refuse giving their business to us even if we were the last suppliers of their most desperate needs on Earth.
Yet these goals can be achieved with inventive and ingenious sales tactics, cutting edge marketing principles, and by controlling quality and costs with capable and enterprising management. Certainly, we have to convey all of this erudition in 7 seconds – remember, it’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.