Distracted audience: Are they too busy to listen?

I always take my son Matt out to lunch when he’s home from college. I enjoy hearing about the new interests he’s acquired since we last got together. Lately, it’s been the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.

At lunch, I noticed that he had become sort of a walking communications hub. There were few moments when his mobile phone was not ring-toning, beeping, buzzing, or vibrating. He was managing a constant stream of distractions and interruptions.

The distracted audience

When our clients talk to us about their audience — the key people they must influence and motivate — they notice the same thing: they have trouble focusing. It’s as if their audience has ADD — attention deficit disorder.

Whether it’s due to lean staffing, demands of technology, or management pulling the plug on the office water cooler, you are trying to reach a distracted audience. They have more work, less time, and less patience than they used to.

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What to do?

  • Keep it brief –– your audience will be turned off by a long document
  • Keep it clean — Make clarity and legibility a priority in design
  • It’s not about you — talk about your audience, not you — people want to hear about what you do for them, not why you are important
  • Tell stories — folks will pay attention if you have a great story to tell

Of course, there are exceptions to these guidelines. But more than ever, you need to put yourself in your audience’s distracted, super-busy shoes.



Warner Music Group claims to own the copyright to the song ‘Happy Birthday’. In 2008 they collected around $2 million in royalties for the song.


About us

LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.
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