Nina Christian: Marketing in the information overload age


“If your content isn’t landing, isn’t connecting and isn’t effective – creating more of it isn’t the solution.”

By Nina Christian, marketing futurist and global marketing mentor

Imagine you’re standing in the middle of Times Square as an unending rush of bright, flashy billboards vie for your attention. Each one is louder and more insistent than the last. The intensity of the lights, sounds, and movement overwhelms your senses with an onslaught of information from every direction.

The reality is you don’t need to go all the way to New York to experience that, you just need to have a phone and a laptop. There’s a ceaseless onslaught of information bombarding us from every corner of our digital lives, 24/7.

We’re all living in Times Square.

And this “content overload” is only going to get more intense in the years to come, as it becomes technologically possible for more brands to reach bigger audiences, and as more and more people (and machines!) clamour for our attention. As a result, our ability to retain volumes of information is diminishing as so much of it is coming our way each day.

This is important to keep in mind as we are building a presence that is visible to more people. Simply being aware that your message is likely mixed in with thousands of other messages coming at them simultaneously is essential.

Regardless of where your audience is located, there isn’t a place on earth that hasn’t been turned upside down in the last few years. People in general are cynical about many of the old ways of becoming visible, especially when it comes to content and messaging, and they remember less of what they see and hear. Therefore, our approach needs to change, as messaging precision and emotional connection become vital ingredients in being seen, heard, and remembered.

So, what does this mean when it comes to marketing?

Whether you’re an enterprise, small business, or personal brand “Adding value” is no longer the gold standard, especially when it comes to content creation.

If you skimmed over that previous line, I’ll repeat it: Adding value is no longer the gold standard.

We are now in an era where there is “value” everywhere we look – Google, YouTube, infographics in your social feed – heck, even the local library. Free valuable information on every topic imaginable is widely available and no longer hard to find, there is more than you could ever consume in a lifetime. What is lacking is the ability to interpret that information and break down which of the gazillion ideas is worth applying, and what is genuinely helpful to an individual’s unique situation at a particular point of time.

On top of that, making this accessible and actionable for the average person with a business, or a job, kids or pets, who values self-care, relationships, and their sanity, is an even bigger challenge. The volume of information we desire to be aware of increases, but our mental bandwidth to process it diminishes due to the myriad of things competing for our attention.

When people are tuning out because of too much on their mind, despite what so many marketing “gurus” may be purporting, it’s pointless to play the volume game. If your content isn’t landing, isn’t connecting and isn’t effective – creating more of it isn’t the solution. That just causes people to tune out and glaze over and will leave you feeling like you’re spinning your wheels with no tangible outcome.

So what’s the solution?

Think about putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, regardless of what industry you’re in – technology, advertising, media, wellness, professional services – think of the people who are engaging with your content and marketing messaging.

People are craving hope, optimism, and, quite simply, the need to “feel good” and “feel seen” in the face of a million things trying to get them down. If your brand can play that role – you will be one that’s remembered.

Walk a mile in their shoes, or rather, sit for an hour in their inbox or news feed. What’s on their mind? What’s the big goal they’re currently trying to nail? Why? Where are they looking for answers? Why is what they’re doing not working? And how does what you are sharing help them alleviate that?

In a world where so much marketing messaging is purporting subtle messaging of “do more” and “get this” and “be that”, if you want to go beyond just communicating, and truly connect, relieving anxiety with the content we create, not creating more of it, should be the goal.

So that instead of that feeling of being a constant stream of paparazzi flashes in the eyes of our audience, who are struggling to take it all in, our content is more akin to the trusted lamp of an air traffic controller in the night, clearly visible and showing the way to the runway and helping them take off and get to where they want to go faster, and safely.

In a world that’s obsessed with value and volume, audiences just want to be shown the way.

See Also: Nina Christian: Creating an elegant personal brand, the butterfly way


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