Inside the “five second window”


Go anywhere, and you’re bound to see hordes of people staring into their mobile phones and tablets. They might be checking email, watching videos, reading news, playing games, scanning Facebook, Tweeting, Web surfing, shopping, even getting some work done on productivity apps.

Either way, it’s a window of opportunity for marketers and line-of-business executives (LOB) to engage the customer.

Time spent on mobile devices has become such an important metric that those covering the space, including our new Penton site, have come up with names for it. Forrester calls it “mobile moment” and boasts that the New York Times has unleashed a mobile advertising solution with the same name. Gartner uses the term, “business moment.” And marketing technology vendor StrongView has coined, “micro moment.”

The idea of a “moment” comes from a Microsoft study showing that the human attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds in 2000, or roughly the start of the mobile era, to eight seconds in 2013.

But the concept behind the five second window runs much deeper.

Mobile disruption

The mobile megatrend, coupled with the consumer’s short attention span, has disrupted the traditional sales funnel. Customers no longer move through a linear sales funnel like cattle prodded along by marketers and salespeople.

Now companies must engage customers during windows of opportunity on mobile devices. These windows are chaotic, numerous and span the entire customer journey, from brand awareness on social media to mobile marketing to sales conversion to product experience to customer service to customer advocacy. Marketers and LOBers don’t control when and where these windows occur. Heck, they might not even be aware of many of them.

Nevertheless, businesses need to make a great impression in as many windows as they can by offering an awesome customer experience, such as a compelling service or message that captures a customer’s fleeting attention. If a business is technologically and organizationally connected, then it can piece these windows together to create a view of customer behavior and predict next steps.

This is the new sales funnel, or rather sales puzzle, and marketers and LOBers are putting the puzzle together. In other words, they are the ones charged with engaging the customer and winning in the five second window.

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Tom Kaneshige is editor of Five2ndWindow, Penton’s independent news site helping marketers and line-of-business executives get ahead of the digital disruption happening to the customer experience. You can reach him at

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