Vying for the Attention of the Information-Entrenched Consumer

Information Obesity

There are just over 7 billion people on our planet and 2.7 billion of them are online.

Cisco predicts that by the end of this year there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people, according to a new report.

This, in conjunction with faster broadband internet connections and second screen tendencies, means that your average consumer holds more immediate access to information than any consumer before.

But when does being “in the know” become knowing too much?

Let’s pause here for a moment to clarify.  Being well-informed enables us to make better decisions.  However, the excess of irrelevant and distracting information that permeates the Internet makes it exceedingly difficult for consumers to identify what is actually useful.  As a brand, the last thing that you want is to fade into this ‘white noise.’


Information Obesity,” defined by Andrew Whitworth as, “a failure to convert information into knowledge,” is an increasingly prevalent epidemic that has been the focus of recent health discussions.

To some degree, the popularity of content marketing as a tactic for advertisers has only made things worse.  More than ever, advertisers are using irrelevant information to sell products and services.  They hope that placing their brand’s name onto the viral cat video of the week will convince consumers to choose that brand over others.  Because ROI is still a difficult concept to grasp in the social media world, brands confuse the myriad clicks the video receives with affirmation of their brand and a successful marketing campaign.  What have consumers learned about the brand from the random video? Absolutely nothing useful.  It is certainly not clear whether these tactics make consumers any more inclined to choose this brand over others.

Mind Your Digital Health

Although it is certainly the responsibility of consumers to regulate their own digital information intake, marketers need to recognize this digital epidemic and adjust their approach accordingly.  Brands must very consciously and carefully curate their output to ensure that the information provided stays above the white noise.  To expand, marketers must recognize their role as suppliers of information, they must remain cognizant of consumers’ average information tolerance, and they must generate content that provides value for consumers and income for brands.

As Clay Johnson, author of Information Obesity: Take Responsibility Fatty, put it, “it’s not about consuming less, it’s about consuming well.”

Don’t Get Lost in the Noise

From native ads to brands sponsoring irrelevant content, there’s been much confusion regarding how to implement an effective content marketing strategy.

Consider incorporating the following tips into your brand’s digital approach:

1.    Engage your consumers directly on social media.  Communication is now multidirectional. Your fans actively participate in discovering, creating, and sharing information about your brand on multiple channels and devices.  Join the real conversations already occurring out there to ensure relevance, and build lasting relationships with your fans.

2.    Use RELEVANT video content & visually stimulating content.  Video provides a more readily digestible format for consumers to understand. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text (Source).  Not to mention, videos are shared 12x more often than links and text posts combined, so you’ll naturally have a higher rate of exposure for your brand.

3.    Leverage co-creation as a means to generate stimulating content, strengthen ties & identify brand ambassadors. Co-creation channels or contests amassing user-generated content function as fantastic means to interact with champions of your brand.  Get them excited and give them a way to share their personalities and talents while strengthening their bonds with your brand.

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