It’s just a moment, a first impression. Malcolm Gladwell made the concept not only famous, but validated the marketing profession’s obsession with the 3-second rule, that is, “you have 3 seconds to attract a new customer’s attention.” It actually may be worse than this. We customers are exposed to 3,000 marketing messages daily. However, we have the capacity to connect, register, and remember less than 100 of those messages. In the end your first impression had better be a good one.
But what happens after that first impression? The assumption marketers make is that they should treat all of their customers as if this rule always applies, even to their loyal customers. That’s not the case. Once the first impression is made for the positive, and an actual connection is made, customers then tend to dive in. First at a product level, they browse, shop, look at details of features and functions and maybe even make a purchase.
And soon after that first purchase customers afford themselves some time. Customers having had that first positive product experience have narrowed the field. They are no longer looking across the vast landscape of competitive options. They are in relationship. They want to know more. They will now read, ponder, entertain a catalog, browse your website, watch a video, and maybe even venture into a store. This is a deep dive.
But what do marketers do? Keep sticking to the 3-second rule, providing only high-level sound bites. The opportunity at your fingertips is far more interesting. Build pathways into more meaningful content, invite customers into little hallways and rooms to learn more about why your brand exists in the first place, show the inspiration of the design, and demonstrate the values that define your company. Customers are people, and they crave deep relationships with other people, with organizations, and even with brands that sell them stuff. So, don’t get stuck in the 3-second rule. Once you’ve got a customer, invite them over for some tea.