nMerge explores content overload

The implications of information and content overload

The implications of information and content overload 780 441 nMerge

Do you ever feel that the closer you are to something, the farther from it you really are? In no day or age in human history have we been closer or more connected to customers yet sometimes they seem so far away. In a connected world, customers research the products or services that will satisfy their needs yet even they only have limited capacity to absorb information. If I put myself in the customers shoes I think as a life long learner I am someone who believes the cup is always half full, ready for more to be poured in. However in the last couple of years I cannot escape the feeling that I am being overloaded with information. I also feel like I am constantly switched on, connected to devices that transmit information. Some of this information is useful and some, well, shall we say, not so. Some of this information is sent to me whether I like it or not, some whether it interests me or not. Some is situational on a fleeting interest I may have expressed many moons ago but quite simply have moved on from. I receive it on my phone, tablet, laptop, car, watch, TV, radio, and via the traditional print channel. I now find myself multitasking content consumption. This for example could be via Netflix on my TV, whilst I am on Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter on my tablet, phone or laptop. What I have discovered is that I am not really 100% consuming anything. My ability to ‘multi-consume’ is flawed. This has implications for marketers and businesses in both B2C and B2B worlds. How do they generate cut through to get my attention with so much noise?

Recently Mark W Schaeffer published a post about Content Shock for his book Content Code. He defines Content Shock as “the emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.” In this post Mark raises a couple of interesting topics:

  1. As human beings we are limited by the ability to consume content that is scaling exponentially (see graphic below),
  2. Content generation and content distribution channels are becoming more expensive as marketers try and cut through the content noise for share of attention and wallet, and;
  3. That deep pockets win!

Content Shock

Source: Mark W Schaeffer – Content Code

Looking at the above visualization, the amount of content that is created is forecast to become a singularity! This reminds me of a discussion I had with Ray Kurzweil when I assisted him at the Creative Innovation conference in Australia a couple of years ago. His theory on the singularity in his book, The Singularity is Near, and our need to adapt technology into our consciousness and physical bodies may not only be driven by our need to assimilate content, but also by our need to process it in logical, coherent and meaningful ways. Basically, we not only have to keep up with technology but also have to keep up with our need to communicate in a connected ‘internet of everything’ world.

So what does this all mean? I position (until such a time that a Kurzweilian future may or may not become reality) that it means content development and management needs to become a needed strategic core competence for business. If digital and physical channels are becoming more expensive because of increased noise and competition for the customer’s attention, then a strategic approach is needed. This is beyond the insourcing versus outsourcing debate recently explored by Marketing Magazine. Over the last 20 odd years, I have seen value created and destroyed on both sides of the fence. A binary approach is too shallow. It’s actually about defining the areas a business needs to achieve core competence and how to develop or acquire that capability. More importantly how does a business manage that capability? No one business can do it all. There is always a need to secure the right outsourced capabilities however the need to efficiently manage the processes, assets and resources is critical. This is where the right strategic use of people and technology platforms can mean the difference between success and failure in securing customers attention. This can be complex territory due to the explosion in channels, technology and customers expecting immediacy and access to the ‘right’ information. This is where a partner who has experience with management consulting, content creation, delivery and management, systems development and implementation can help you be more efficient in your use of resources and also generate more effective results.

Thank you for sparing a little of your daily attention capacity to read my thoughts on the implications of information overload!

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