Decoding in the age of information overload

| Updated on: Apr 13, 2011
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Information overload and its impact on consumers connected globally via multiple media were in focus on the last day of Goafest 2011, when global honchos from the advertising community take centre stage.

Laurie Coots, CMO, TBWA Chiat/Day, used examples from studies involving MRI scans to study consumer reactions. Coots said, “Consumers are flooded with more information than they can absorb actively. It has been proven that more the information we get, the worse the decisions we make.”

On marketer reactions to a deluge of information, she mused, “Deciding not to make a decision has become a fundamental part of the marketing strategy.”

She added, “We have also been trained to believe that response time is more important than quality because of the nature of our work and client needs. We need to protect ourselves from that.”

Noting that it was important to keep experiences — whether digital or experiential — emotional enough in an era of information overload, she said, “We have to understand how it is that one processes the whole volume of information into little byte-sized pieces to allow clients to pass on, share and process, whether it is in the form of infographics, podcasts or other means.”

Daniel Morel, Chairman and CEO, Wunderman, noted, “The average marketers today have more information to understand in one day than they had in a decade. All this transaction data make it quite a task to translate them into actionable information.”

Impact on consumers

The Wunderman CEO observed that there would be four major trends to observe in what he termed the ‘Marketing 3.0' age, or the connected age: geography, context, community and commerce. Location-based services and GPS are already emerging areas of focus, according to him.

“In 2011, we'll be searching less, pulling less, because apps will give us what is relevant to us based on where we are and who we are,” noted Morel.

Observing that in a small emerging market such as Kenya, 20 per cent of the economy is transacted on the mobile phone, he said, “There will be increased focus on more digital assets and content that brands will need to build. That will mean that globally, there will be a need for young creative talent to build that content, and the talent in markets such as India, China and Indonesia will play a key role.”

Coots explained how the ability to ‘hijack' a shopper in the midst of making purchases — from aisle to aisle — is proving powerful in developed markets, with the help of location-based and customised apps. In India, she said 80 million 3G phones had been sold even before the roll-out of 3G services, indicating a strong appetite for these services.

“There is going to be an integration of e-marketing, m-commerce and shopper marketing, as we see happening in the Western markets, where the moment from decision to acquisition is a nano-second. In India, the power will be in being hyper-local,” surmised Coots.

Published on April 13, 2011

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