interrupt-meOne recent morning, the sun interrupted my usual routine.

That might sound crazy since we see and feel the sun every day, but on this overcast morning the sun was very different. It appeared faintly pink, a perfect circle surrounded by a halo, its rays trying to shine through the foggy cloud cover. The blushing glow was beautiful in the gray sky and my sleepy morning brain questioned, just for a moment, whether I was admiring the sun or the moon. Snapping to reality, I immediately captured pictures and video to share on social media, wanting everyone to experience this unexpected beauty too.

I’m usually put off by interruptions, but this time was different. Sure, the pause set me back a few minutes and derailed my morning routine. But Wow! Was it worth stopping for! This was the first time I had ever seen the sun in such a state. Who knows if I will ever see that again?

As marketers, we usually set out to deliberately “disrupt” and “interrupt” our target audience with a message that provokes enough thought, emotion, and action to stop people in their tracks. The average attention span is a mere eight seconds, so it’s a wonder we even feel interrupted any more with so many distractions. However, direct marketing response rates tell us we are still able to grab an audience’s attention and hold it…if the message is worthy of their time.

Let’s imagine for a moment if people asked us to interrupt them.

After being interrupted by us, the target audience should feel like the pause was totally worth the distraction – not an annoyance. Making the message relevant and beneficial to them will achieve the positive response we’re looking for.

Time to go into tactical mode; here are a few questions to ask when taking this approach:

  • Has the audience opted in to be interrupted by us?
  • What is the interruptive message? 
  • What would the interruptive direct marketing piece look like?
  • How does the message get delivered so it interrupts what the audience is doing?
  • Will the message be delivered at an interruptive time?
  • Is the offer and call to action interruptive enough to get our audience to act on it right away?
  • Is the message compelling enough to share it and interrupt other people’s day?

The ultimate goal is for our target audience to want to be interrupted by us. If our audience feels like we are giving them the opportunity to see something they might miss if they don’t take the time to engage with it, they will gladly say, “Interrupt me, please.”