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Time‐value economics: competing for customer time and attention

Adrian C. Ott (Author of The 24‐hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time‐starved, Always‐connected Economy (HarperBusiness, 2010). Her Silicon Valley‐based consulting firm, Exponential Edge, Inc., advocates incorporating customer time and attention behaviors into business strategy, product innovations and marketing plans (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 4 January 2011




This paper aims to explore the impact of time on customer behavior and decision making. Even though people factor time into decisions on a daily basis, businesses tend to focus resources and efforts on other aspects of consumer behavior such as pricing and demographics, resulting in many executives overlooking this key element of the customer decision process.


This paper provides a framework for understanding how customers value offerings in relation to time and attention priorities. It also demonstrates the evolution of today's time scarcity in relation to commerce and why it is more salient today using time‐use data.


Companies that understand how customers value time in relation to their offerings were more successful in today's economy and often achieved competitive advantage.

Practical implications

The framework guides executives in determining actions and market opportunities for products or services based on a time and attention‐centric mindset.


Time‐value economics provides a new lens for organizations to understand how time shapes customer behavior and decisions. The associated framework provides a useful market segmentation model. It enables businesses to identify new innovation opportunities and actions to foster growth.



Ott, A.C. (2011), "Time‐value economics: competing for customer time and attention", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 24-31.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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