Strategies to help your business overcome information overload

information overload

Over the past few weeks the interweb airwaves have been humming and buzzing with data pointing to the increasing costs of getting your content seen and distributed through an over-crowded web.

  • In a recent Advertising Age article, Facebook reports: “Content that is eligible to be shown in our news feed is increasing at a faster rate than people’s ability to consume it.”
  • study by InboundWriter shows only 10 to 20 percent of a company’s website content drives 90 percent of its online traffic.
  • Social platforms are creating programs to highlight organic content from the brands that spend the most money on their ads. So paid ads and sponsored content will soon be driving the “organic” reach of content.
  • Reports claim the price of social media monitoring is going up because there is so much more content to process
  • According to a recent IZEA survey, 61 percent of marketers have paid “influencers” to mention their product and share their content.
  • According to a LexisNexis (client) study on International Workplace Productivity, 62% of white collar workers admit that the quality of their work suffers because they can’t sort through the information they need fast enough.

All of these trends support the idea of a “Content Shock” that is coming — if it isn’t here already — for many businesses.

Businesses who just pump out more content — even “better” content — are engaging in a strategy that is becoming increasingly difficult because the cost to succeed is going up, up, up. What are you going to do about it? That is really the dialogue that has to be happening next, right?

And that is the conversation that begins here, in this new edition of the Marketing Companion podcast I created with Tom Webster. We start with a little fun, introducing a new idea called “Prickstarter” and then get into some pretty deep ideas about content and audience that includes:

  • The advantage of “ether” in the marketplace
  • The decline of RSS and the coming Age of the Great Algorithm
  • Media is media. Integrating channels to present one message to your customers is a key idea.
  • Audience is not the same as “buyer” — Creating personas may be an out-dated strategy?
  • A focus on emotional ties and “human” as a competitive strategy
  • Bronies and the Celine Dion play — you just have to hear it to believe it
  • Passionate content versus content and why “helpful” is not a point of differentiation

Pretty amazing, right? If you want to get your ears around this podcast right this minute, here you go!

LINK: Marketing Companion Episode 15

Resources mentioned in this podcast

Comment from Ken Rosen that served as an example of Content Shock

Three phases of the web reference from Microsoft’s Dean Hauchomovitch

Shel Holtz post on consumer view of Content Shock

Christopher Penn discussion on owned, earned and paid media

Website of Dr. Robert Cialdini

Website of Voices Heard Media

Illustration courtesy

This content was created as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
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  • Bravo… Thank you Mark, and Tom for once again presenting an evocative podcast!

    Recently I have become extremely interested in the concept of “branding.”

    Since I began on-line in 1995, I’ve been asking the very same question ‘what is next?’

    The result for me is to focus on my clients, fans, and followers by asking them ‘what brings you here; what do you want me to focus on?

    Until I hear from them, I continue to offer my perspective on ‘stress’ for them to get a sense of where I am coming from.

    Hope this adds to your {grow} community discussion, and thank you for this opportunity to engage, and share. ~Rae

  • This is a good place to start but in my experience I also know that customers may not know what they want until they see it. Henry Ford has a famous quote: “If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” So asking your customers may offer some guidance, but may not really be a source of any breakthrough insight.

  • People in my business HATE that quote. Yes, if Henry Ford would have asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. But if a competent member of my profession were to do the job, we’d discover the answer was “to spend less time traveling, and more time doing ‘x’, because…” It is true that customers don’t always know what they want. They do, however, always know why.

  • Thank you Mark for sharing your experience…

    I am listening to, and passing along current branding experts’ ‘what;s next’ vision heard on ‘C-Suite with Jeffrey Hazlett’ (among others) who are looking at leadership teams in various companies who appear to be reverting back to Henry Ford’s quote – you cite above – giving his customers the car “…a faster horse.”

    Respectfully, for me Henry Ford’s “breakthrough insight” came from listening to his customers. ~Rae

  • Ha! We have found a point of disagreement! After years of leading R&D efforts I never had an offer of a breakthrough insight from a customer. Of course I could have been doing it wrong : )

  • Terence Kam

    On the flip side, when clients asks many of their Internet marketing ‘specialist’ about what is the winning strategy, the answer is often this:

    “Produce more awesome, amazing, valuable, quality, (fill your own adjectives) content!” (which is no different from Ford’s customers asking for a faster horse)

    Basically, all these strategies all boils down to giving away your hard work, sweat, toil, money away for free in the form of free content. Almost everyone advocate this strategy. But has anyone stopped to asked this simple question:

    As content producers step over one another to be more awesome, amazing, valuable, quality, (fill your own adjectives) than the next guy, WHO BENEFITS (cui bono)?

    The answer is, as I’m trying to make everyone understand in my book (“The Google Trap”, is GOOGLE! (And by the way, thanks John for the plug).

    This is a problem we all faced in this line of work. It is nice to have faith that the next messaiah will appear to give us a winning never-thought-off strategy that will solve this marketing problem and move all of us forward. But in my opinion, we cannot move forward unless we all look hard at the question of WHO BENEFITS (cui bono). If we think that the winning strategy is to find a faster horse that can race faster to the bottom, it will eventually result in everyone breeding faster horses- just to reach the bottom faster collectively. As Mark alluded in his idea of the Content Shock, we are nearing the bottom as we speak.

    Once again, I ask everyone to ask this simple question: As we race each other to the bottom, WHO BENEFITS (cui bono)? Is there a better destination for everyone other than the bottom?

  • My belief (hyppothesis) that customers come from breakthrough insights is worth considering! ~Rae

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