Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging – Part 3
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain

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Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging – Part 3

Published : February 22, 2024

This is the third part of Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging, first mentioned in ProfitXL to Profipoly: Solving the Four Funnel Frictions. In the second part, I talked about the post-pandemic world and how it upended long-established customer habits. I also discussed fundamental problems that reduced digital marketing to handing money to tech giants like Google and Facebook to pursue new customers. This part explains the Microns-Mu-Micronbox triad and how it can help marketers break the spending spiral of new acquisitions.


Attention Messaging is based on a simple idea: pay for attention. Instead of paying more to tech giants, pay existing customers for their attention. Brands must use their first contact with customers to ask them for an email address or mobile number. Even brands selling via marketplaces must try to persuade customers to share the basic information required to create a direct relationship. Each time a brand selling a product does not invite the customer to engage with it directly, it is a missed opportunity.

Push messages are crucial in getting customers back to brand properties (website/app). Even if brands use intermediaries to sell products, a mobile-friendly website is vital in today’s digital world. Creating a subscription list of mobile numbers and email addresses can help a brand drive repeat and more profitable direct business since marketplaces will naturally try to squeeze out as much profit as possible from brands dependent on them.

Brands require push messages to get customers back on their digital properties for transactions unless they are a monopoly (CoWIN) or have instant brand recall (Amazon, Flipkart). A mobile number allows a brand to send an SMS, push notification, or WhatsApp message to the customer. On the other hand, an email address enables brands to email the customer.

However, this is where brands face the biggest challenge, as most customers ignore the bulk of these messages. This is the ‘Attention Recession’ problem. What marketers lack is an easy way to reward inbox attention. Netcore solves this problem through its attention currency, Mu. This is what intelligent marketers must adopt to counter attention recession, delight customers, and convert the one-off transaction into a lasting relationship.

Mu allows brands to pay their customers for attention, similar to how brands reward customers with reward points, allowing brands to incentivize customers for specific actions at the top of the funnel. Without attention, there is no action; without action, there is no transaction. These actions include opening a message, clicking through to a website or app, providing preferences for greater personalization, referring friends and family, and providing feedback.

Mu is a micro-currency for small actions that can significantly impact brand-customer relationships by encouraging existing customers to cut through the clutter and break the cycle of attention recession. Smart marketers know that incentives work. Mu moves the incentives up in the funnel in a world awash with message overload. Persistent attention in the inbox is the prize for building a habit of opening and not ignoring messages, just like how we always open messages from friends.

This problem has not been solved because inbox control is fragmented. Netcore solves the problem at two levels: Mu, the attention currency, and a new inbox, Micronbox, for Mu messages (Microns). Customers have long had to divide their attention between brand and personal messages. Micronbox is the answer for brands and attentive customers. A single place for all brand messages, with small rewards in each message to ensure they are not ignored.

The Microns-Mu-Micronbox triad is how smart marketers can make attention the center of marketing and break the spending spiral of new acquisitions.

A pan-brand currency

Attention Messaging needs a currency to reward attention, which works across push messaging channels and brands. However, brands cannot make it work because they don’t offer enough rewards to make it worthwhile, even if they have a loyalty program. Let’s look at some numbers.

A brand typically sends 10-15 marketing messages each month. If 5 messages offer 1 Mu for opening the email and 3 for clicking, the recipient earns 20 Mu for actions performed. If each Mu is worth 10 paise, this comes to Rs. 2 for a brand in one month. While this is too much hassle for a single brand to offer, a recipient could get Rs 50-100 worth of Mu a month across 25-50 brands. This is a significant number, as demonstrated by Google Pay, which has attracted users with much less.

There is also the fun element, such as surprises and sweepstakes. After all, if 90% of messages are being ignored, there is a much more significant upside than downside. Even if 5% of customers open and act on brand messages, it could lead to a 50% increase in traffic to the brand’s website or app.

Thus, Attention Messaging needs a micro-currency that works across brands, focusing on inboxes receiving the messages. The idea is to get customers used to looking at brand messages with interest and introduce a delight rather than a delete mindset. Mu acts as a signal, telling customers brands are willing to offer something in return for attention and that customer retention is as important as new customer acquisitions.

Mu allows the brand to directly reward customers instead of paying the likes of Google and Facebook, encouraging them to have better and deeper relationships with existing customers. Customers can signal back to the brand through opens and clicks, creating the equivalent of a digital pheromone that brands can track and make their messaging sharper.

That this hasn’t been done before is surprising. Maybe Attention Messaging is unimportant, and brands are perfectly happy with the current state of customer relationships. Maybe customers don’t care about rewards and don’t change their attention behavior, or perhaps they will collect rewards and not change their buying behavior.

In each case, the idea will fail, and we will return to square one. However, if the Mu rewards mechanism works, it will be a significant step up in brand-customer relationships, creating a win-win situation for both. Which scenario will come to fruition? Only time will tell!

Continued in Part 4

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Written By: Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain
Founder and Group MD, Netcore Cloud