Our Thinking

Information Overload: Getting heard in a Noisy World

I recently returned from a wonderful week at Infusioncon in Phoenix, Arizona. What a conference it was … great speakers, great entrepreneurs and a great host (Infusionsoft) created a great environment. There were so many things that stood out for me, however, when I look back and try to remember those pivotal moments, it was more like information by fire hose. There was so much information that I found it difficult to decide which idea or concept to pursue first. The reality is that too much information can lead to bad decisions. Wait! This is exactly what your prospects and clients feel while making their decisions – overwhelmed.

Speaking of decisions, there is no excuse for making a bad decision in this age as there is so much information available.  This is what I call “noise”, marketers call it “Content Marketing”. As per the Google Zero Moment of Truth stats, in 2010 people used an average of 5.3 resources to make a decision. In 2011 that number doubled to 10.4 sources. Does this mean we are becoming more intelligent when it comes to making decisions? No, this indicates we are getting confused and making a decision is becoming more and more complicated (and likely more time-consuming). From a marketing perspective, having a great product or service is useless if you are not heard above the noise.

Ironically, the answer to the challenge of information overload is in… information. This is because even though there is so much information out there on every topic, prospects are still hungry for more! If you are operating in a niche, good for you. Just create and publish educational content around your offering and you will likely attract attention, however, if you are not operating in a niche, then the key is to differentiate yourself. Here are some ideas to be heard above the noise:

1. Be different: Are you doing any direct mail marketing in your business? I am not directing  you to the stone age but just think about this – because web/email marketing is cheap, more and more businesses and your competitors are doing it. This has created a hole in your prospect’s mail box where there is a good chance that your message will be read! Go ahead and test drive it with a small test group. If that doesn’t work, sometimes being unique helps, maybe use video in mail. People would not only view and read your mail but keep it as a momento (for months to come).

2. Be empathetic: We are living in a social age and prospects and clients love to be treated for who they are. Think about the last time you created your marketing collateral and gave away gifts branded with your logo. The whole idea was to have your clients/prospects remember you, but what logos or brands do your clients love? Of course, its their own. How about creating marketing collateral branded with your client’s logo on it? Do you think that would make you even more memorable?

3. Think like your clients think: If you are not sure what would work, just pick up the phone and talk to your clients. Ask them how they are dealing with the information overload. How did they made the decision to work with you. I am sure you will discover some great ideas that no marketer or consultant can provide.

4. Learn from your competition: Find out what your competition is talking about. Now, figure out a better way of delivering the same content, or tailor it to your target audience, or even better, talk about what your competition is not talking about.

5. Make it easy: Yes, this is important. Make it easy for your prospects to access your content. One way to do that is to be omnipresent.

6. Create a controversy: There is no such thing as bad publicity.  I am not recommending you do something bad, however, look for an opportunity to be different from others. For example,  “All those who are talking about Information Overload do not know what they are talking about!” This strong, clearly-sided statement can generate a controversial conversation.  If you play your cards right, you will stand out. It’s a win-win situation, media loves controversy and you get your word out!

7. Post good stuff: This goes without saying. Creating great content or simply posting and promoting great content can build your reputation. There is no substitute for good actionable ideas.

These ideas will, of course, change over time. Information overload is only going to get worse as new content is being created at an exceptional pace. If you are using an idea that hasn’t been mentioned here, please share your experience in the comments below. Remember, this is going to make a huge difference on which businesses thrive, rather than just survive, in the long run.

Ashish Malik is Partner, Client Services at 108 ideaspace inc., a firm that works in Web/Social Media/Marketing Automation strategy and implementation.  A Certified Consultant, Ashish has helped several clients automate their sales and marketing as well as grow their business by implementing CRM. For more on Ashish Malik or 108 ideaspace, visit ideas108.wpengine.com.

For more ideas on how to market your business,  follow Ashish on Twitter @AshishMalik01.