A new article on Forbes
reports that paying attention isn't always the same - and there are two ways humans respond to marketing. Neuroscientists call these two types of attention endogenous and exogenous. The author says marketers can benefit from knowing how to appeal to both.
Endogenous attention happens when you're out shopping from a grocery list. You're not responding to outside prompts, and your attention is directed internally - your goals are already set and defined by the list in your hand. However, when you're down at the mall browsing, your decisions are yet to be made, and you're paying attention to external prompts. That's exogenous attention - and it's the one marketers need to concentrate on:
Advertising, branding, and content meant to grab attention works best when optimized for exogenous attention. Driving exogenous attention comes down to tapping into what we, the brain, naturally pays attention to change. The brain's emphasis on change makes evolutionary sense. Survival does not depend on taking in and experiencing one hundred percent of our environment. In fact, paying attention to every single detail all the time would ultimately hurt our survival odds. Instead, survival depends on quick action, and our brains have evolved to process just enough perceptual information in order to act.
Is this berry a fruit I've eaten before, or something new and potentially poisonous? It's unnecessary to see every pigment in the berry, only to notice whether it continues or interrupts my established pattern of safe-to-eat berries. Learning patterns helps save time and energy. Conversely, breaking these patterns results in earning attention. Fast forward to today's berry-free consumer environment, this 'breaking of the pattern' tactic plays on the brain's exogenous attention to literally grab a consumer's mind share.
Consumers' brains have evolved to work in specific ways over thousands of years. The author says that decoding and breaking those patterns can lead to much success for marketers. If you'd like to learn more, feel free to check out the original article!