Infoglut arrived as a new and powerful word for me in this morning's e-mail box. And doesn't this word just capture the problem nicely? We all know the problem... and it's getting worse all the time.
There's just too much information, too many cool sites to visit, too much e-mail to read, too much learning to absorb. None of us can keep up.
Suffering the Infoguilt
Personally, I have info-guilt: a deep concern that I'm not adequately keeping up.
Wonderful magazine articles not yet read are stacked around my office. [Including the thing you sent me from the NY Times, Herb, it's here somewhere, and probably I will love it when I get to it]
Blog items not yet read are accumulating like dust-bunnies in my Bloglines account. I stopped by Flooring the Consumer this morning, because of a Google alert, which led me to a couple of blogtipping posts at Converstations and Business Blogwire, and thereby found a whole bunch of cool and interesting blogs that I didn't know about. ARRRGH!!!
Potential interesting speaking events are dutifully noted in the calendar. If they are free webinars, notwithstanding my interest level, or their relevance, I might not manage to attend, and the guilt-o-meter surges.
If you're like me, and insight is what you sell for a living, keeping up is crucial. And in fact, let's admit it, we're being honest here, it's a joyous activity for many of us, if only one had enough time.
Of course this is just in my professional life. In my personal life, I can't keep up either. Don't even get me started about the over-choice problem... How about you? Are you stroking confidently through those waves of information, or just staying afloat and trying to keep your head up?
Helping people filter the infoglutter
If you are a marketer, you will need to rise above this noise. You need to help people through the info-glut, not add to it. If you have a service that helps people stay on top of information or manage it more effectively, your future is bright.
And watch how much choice you throw at people. It's a short trip from 'having options' to 'drowning in options'. Even better, give them only the best choices, and make it easy to be smart.
The future is bright for brands, advisors and expert help
This infoglut, infoglutter problem is just about the most important trend I know of right now. It's so pervasive, we can hardly see it for looking at it.
In the early days of new information technologies, it looked like brands might lose out when consumers could go find anything on the net. Well, brands are advisors to a large degree. We expect our favorite brands to do quite a bit of filtering for us, and only offer up choices that fit the core values of the brand. And what could be more important now, when faced with overwhelming options?
In the early days of online stock trading, many suggested that financial advisors would soon disappear. Guess what... that's another place where overwhelming choice and abundant information mean that the future looks bright for those that actually provide filtering and advice.
New parents now are apparently obsessed with making the perfect parenting decisions, utilizing all the complex information available to them. They've got no excuse right? It's not like the information wasn't out there. It's the perfect environment for a parenting coach.
The press release that started this post: The press release from Panasonic that started this post is here. Panasonic is offering help to anyone who needs it in making decisions about plasma TVs. Seems like a good idea. Whether it works or not, I do like the thinking behind this, of providing expert help. They're cutting this off on Dec. 31, which is too bad. And I guess you have to figure out that it's a plasma before you call, and not some other kind of flat screen... (just let me do a little research on that first, so I know the right question to ask).
A previous post on this topic: Choice and the Role of Advice: how advisers change the customer experience
An excellent book on the topic of choice: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz. Excellent explanations of some of the science about choice and decision-making and easy reading. Guaranteed to get you highlighting key passages.