The Curse of Information Overload and How to Avoid It

by Dean Rieck

I'm sure I don't have to explain information overload. You experience it every day when you open three pounds of mail, flip through 1,000 TV channels, or dive into that teetering pile rising from your "in box."

I experience information overload in the cereal isle at the grocery store.

I'm young at heart, so all those bright boxes put a smile on my face. But there's a moment, a dreadful, oppressive moment, when I stand there in the cereal aisle and feel very old. It hits me every time I start down that long row, scanning the colorful box covers stacked six shelves high and running a good 40 feet along one side.

It's the moment when my brain starts to throb because of the overwhelming selection before me — dozens of brands vying for my attention, starbursts popping off every box, coupon dispensers flashing red, sales signs waving above my head, red and yellow price tags lining every shelf, a sea of promotional decals spattering the floor ...

... information overload at its most intense.

There's just too much information to process these days. And what I feel in the cereal aisle is what your customers and prospects feel every day. What are the results? When people are feeling overwhelmed, they react in the only way they can:

The Causes of Information Overload

You can't do anything about the general information overload in our culture, but you can control overload in the context of your marketing messages. First, let's look at what can create information overload in your communications.

The Cures for Information Overload

So, what can you do to avoid overload? Allow me to address the causes with some cures and give you a few extra ideas as well.

Now, if you've had an "overload" day, it's quite possible that all these ideas and bullet points are sounding like just so much noise. So, let me try one more time.

Imagine I am your customer. As I shop your "cereal aisle," I want to feel like I can choose, but I really want you to give me just one clear choice. I want to know what I'm getting. I want to feel like it's a bargain. I want the whole process to be easy and fun. I want what's inside to look the same as the picture on the box.

And I'd appreciate it if you would toss in a prize.

Copyright © 1998 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.
Click here for reprint policy.

Send a link of this article to a friend.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Home    Services    FAQ    Bio    Kudos    Samples    Contact
Learning Center    Site Map    Blog    Products

Copyright © Direct Creative. All Rights Reserved.