What if solving the problem with advertising is not about focusing on attention, but intention? That’s what author Doc Searls put forth in a post recently. In a digital world, he argues, we need to shift to an “intention economy” in which marketers use the power of technology to only push brand messages to consumers who are in immediate need of what that brand can provide and have an intention to use it.
What I said was “Think about what will happen to markets when any one of us can intentcast our needs for products or services, and do so easily and in standard ways that any supplier can understand. Then think about what will happen when any company can inform existing or potential customers directly, without the intermediation of the media we know today — and with clear and well-understood permissions for doing that on both sides.
“The result will be the intention economy, which will work far better for demand and supply than the attention economy we have today, simply because there will be so many more and better ways to inform and connect, in both directions.”
My point here is about our power as individual customers, not about what marketers can do. What you describe here is the persistent marketing dream that better guesswork is all that’s needed. In fact we’re drowning in bad guesswork, and that’s a problem that marketing can’t solve by itself.