Share of voice is meaningless on the infinite dial


At last week’s Inbound conference, noted author Seth Godin made the statement during his keynote that you cannot buy share of voice in a world with infinite channels. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Seth didn’t go far enough: in a world with infinite channels, share of voice has become totally meaningless.

Consider what a world of infinite channels actually means. Every message in your inbox is a channel between the sender and you, the recipient, and the recipient has ever increasing ways to not listen to you. Every podcast listener is giving you a share of their mobile device. Every blog is a channel between that blogger and her audience members. The dial, the number of channels has truly become infinite. Intel, the electronics manufacturer, pointed out the selection of media in just one minute on the Internet is staggering:

  • In one minute, 30 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
  • In one minute, 3,000 new photos are posted to Flickr
  • In one minute, 100,000 new Tweets are published on Twitter
  • In one minute, 6,000,000 pages are viewed on Facebook
  • In one minute, 204,000,000 emails are sent

Not only is it impossible to buy any meaningful share of those channels, it’s not even meaningful to attempt to measure your share of them.

So what’s a marketer and a communications professional to do, if share of voice is statistically irrelevant? Measure by the one thing that is truly scarce, that is truly valuable: of your audience, how much of their attention do you command? For any given individual in your audience, how much did you mean to them? This isn’t a pipe dream measurement; you can measure this with tools available today.

The simplest way to measure how much of an individual’s attention you’ve attracted is via systems like marketing automation software, in which every activity that someone performs is given a score.

Microsoft Excel

As a person does things which demonstrate how much share of mind you command, their score increases. If you’re effective at engaging your audience and capturing share of mind, share of their time, share of their attention, the average score of your database should be rising over time.

Share of voice in a world with infinite choice in media is impossible, but understanding how much attention you command isn’t. Look at your marketing and PR today and see just how much attention you’re really getting.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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