How To Get A Goldfish’s Attention

Capturing the attention of a Goldfish is really quite simple: wait until they have not eaten for a while and then put food in the water. We will have their attention.


People are not so different: find out what they are interested in and then offer them that.


This is a very different approach than the 1980’s sales and marketing model that taught that ‘features and benefits’ would land the sale. In the 1980’s, one sold a product by speaking loudly, and often, about how amazing it was.


Today, that doesn’t work. (In truth, it works often enough that people and companies keep doing it but they are receiving diminishing returns; there is a much better way, as we will discuss now.)


Consider what would happen to the goldfish if you just kept putting food in the tank. Sure, at first it might overeat and it may put on weight but, in time, the fish will disregard the extra food and the food will start to collect on various surfaces and turn into a brownish-gray or blackish substance called mulm.


Where spam describes unwanted, low-value email or social media posts, I suggest that mulm is a great name for low-value marketing material that we are subjected to in television commercials, magazine and newspaper advertisements, before movies, on planes and all over social media.


Mulm is like casting a wide net; sure, it will attract some attention but it is incredibly expensive and ineffective.


Instead, I suggest, that we go back to the basics: we find out what our prospects, or target audience, is interested in and we give them that.


To use an example I have often shared when teaching Inception Marketing, consider which of the following talks will get the most attention at this year’s bridal fair:


Wedding Photography Secrets

– Or –

Common Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

– Or –

The hilarious story of how I almost ruined my wedding that will save you thousands of dollars.


The first title is an example of mulm. It is a low-value proposition and an obvious attempt to sell something. It is only offering value to the very small percentage of the crowd that is, in that moment, interested in wedding photography.


The other two titles are, well, more engaging. They appear to offer something of value. They are much more likely to draw a crowd because they are offering something of direct interest to the crowd.


The third example offers both value and is entertainment.


No matter whom it is that you would like to influence, it is time to start thinking more about them and less about you and your image.


Remember, it is impossible to be remembered — much less influence people — if you can’t get their attention in the first place.


By spending time on market research, you can find out what your target audience is interested in. What problems do they have? What do they like? What do they dislike? What motivates them? What is holding them back from getting what they want?


You can use what you find in your market research to sound more like “The hilarious story of how I almost ruined my wedding that will save you thousands of dollars.” and less like “Wedding Photography Secrets”.


If you do this effectively, you can attract the attention from a higher percentage of your target audience. You will become more attractive.



Eric Edmeades

Business Freedom Founder


Do you want to learn how to make your marketing message both valuable and entertaining for your target audience? Learn the power of speaking to create influence at the Business Freedom Speaking Academy