Get a Leg Up on the Competition using Sales and Marketing “Trigger” Words


Longer Attention Spans Than Humans?


Twenty years ago I was astonished to read that 80% of adults don’t read body copy in ads. At best, they’ll notice a headline and a visual. Now it’s gotten worse thanks to our crunched digital lifestyles. (Consumers are reading less, and in B2B, white papers are now one of the least effective assets versus more time-efficient Infographics and video clips.)

Microsoft recently released research findings that since 2002 the average adult’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds, to 8 seconds, now less than a goldfish (9 seconds). Further, Tufts University Neuroscientists report that due to “time famine,” people have developed a new brain function called “data skimming.” This helps explain the decline in readership, quality leads, conversions, and closes.

We first realized the power of emotional triggers over a decade ago when our rudimentary analysis of Christmas Tree Shops customer comments revealed that the key reason women shop there is the fun of finding bargains, not saving money.

The chart (far below) shows recent test results in B2B and B2C which indicates that trigger-infused statements average a 24% preference versus existing (plain) ones.

So, the next time you create a sales or marketing piece try to create one imbedding the trigger words that resonate best with your customers. Create a brief, powerful message with researched words, and don’t just guess what they are. You’re probably too close to be objective. Do some homework. Don’t ask people what they “think.” Find out how they “feel” about your product or service. Last of all, don’t forget that today, more than ever, less is more.

For more information, or a complimentary 20-30 minute telephone/online discussion about how trigger words can help increase your sales and marketing effectiveness, don’t hesitate to contact me at

Wallace & Washburn are the co-authors of the critically acclaimed book,

Why People Don’t Buy Things.



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