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How to cope with information overload as a marketer

Illustration of a woman with her hands over her ears, surrounded by information sources

How to cope with information overload as a marketer

Information overload. It is impacting consumers and marketers alike, and making retail marketing even more challenging than before. 

The average customer journey now involves between 20 to 500 touchpoints, according to 2018 data from Google. Data scientists and media analysts now believe the average consumer attention span is just a mere eight seconds. The rate at which marketing content and channels are evolving is getting close to the speed of sound.

This volume of information can impede the decision-making process for marketers. So how do you control the amount of information you consume?

Here are four tips to help you cope with information overload as a marketer.

What is information overload?

Information overload is an excess of information whereby input exceeds processing capacity, therefore causing confusion and the inability to reach any decision.

It is caused by easy accessibility, lack of control measures and an increase in the number of information channels.

Because a large majority of media channels lack regulation and simple checks, anyone can post anything, which has meant that fake news is now rife. Much of the information available on the internet today is repetitive, inaccurate and contradictory.

How to cope with information overload:

1. Select trusted sources

Great sources of information can enhance a brand’s authority and boost credibility. Less authoritative sources have the opposite effect and can be damaging, especially where fake news is concerned.

2. Do a TRAAP test

This is a great formula to quickly assess whether information is quality content that is worthy of your time:

• T – Timeliness: When was the information last updated?
• R – Relevance: Is the information relevant to your specific topic?
• A – Authority: Who created the information and what can you find out about them as the source?
• A – Accuracy: Is the information factual and is it supported by evidence and references?
• P – Purpose: Why did the source create this information? Are they trying to sell, teach, inform or entertain you?

3. Revert to your business objectives

Ask yourself these questions:

Which part of the strategy is this relevant for and how does it help us move forward?
What problem am I trying to solve and how does this information help?
Who created the information and what can you find out about them as the source?
What information do I need to solve my problem?

Thinking in this way helps to approach information proactively, rather than just reacting to everything shared.

4. Focus on the data

Data gives you a fact-based understanding of any target market alongside insights on your marketing performance.

By tracking and analysing your owned and paid media data alongside customer feedback, you can understand why customers might be deflecting to a competitor and gain insight into possible solutions. Remember to collaborate with your research, data and insight colleagues – they are your biggest asset.

In conclusion

Information overload is common and easy to slip into in today’s marketing world. You can take control by putting a few simple checks in place and referring back to your objectives. What is important and urgent? What do you need to prioritise and do now?

If you want to really cut through the noise and make your marketing efforts work harder for you, contact nicola.harrison@retail-week.com