Too Much Information: Why the Digital Age is Making Marketers Doubt Themselves

information overload on mobile device screen

We were recently startled by a new statistic: “only 40% [of marketers] think their company’s marketing is effective” according to Adobe’s study on Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers Up at Night?. Not only are marketers unsure whether their strategies are effective, but most actually believe that they are ineffective. Why the lack of confidence?

We live in the information age: the digital world claims to offer a plethora of answers to any number of problems, big data and statistics aplenty, metrics and analytics at our fingertips day or night. One would assume that today, with all the studies, data and advice available, a marketer would be able to develop a strategy and produce metrics that they were confident in.

Perhaps with all of this information available, marketers simply feel overwhelmed by all the choices: yes, big data can make us smarter about our branding and marketing strategies, but at the same time, it can be daunting. It’s “the paradox of choice”: “with so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all” says Barry Schwartz, the psychologist who coined the term and published a book of the same title in 2004. He argues that the vast number of options offered to us today “produces paralysis rather than liberation.” And when (or even, if) we make a choice, we are less satisfied with our decision: “it’s easy to imagine that you could have made a different choice that would have been better. And what happens is this imagined alternative induces you to regret the decision you made, and this regret subtracts from the satisfaction you get out of the decision you made, even if it was a good decision.”

Marketers, overwhelmed with the data available to them and what decisions to make using that data, worry that they are choosing incorrectly.

So how can marketers not only gain confidence in their strategies, but also see an uptick in their efficacy? The Adobe study suggests that “marketers do not have a clear consensus on what areas to focus.” A lack of direction or focus can be detrimental to any marketing program, and this is where a brand can be extremely helpful. When a firm has a strong brand foundation, aligned to their business strategy, marketers benefit from knowing exactly what story they are trying to tell, and who to tell it to. Clear messaging and a consistent voice that reflects the firm’s true differentiators take some of the uncertainty out of a marketing strategy. Prospects, recruits, and investors will understand the firm and trust its messaging, alleviating much of the doubt a marketer may feel about their chosen tactics. When a brand is deployed in a synchronized fashion across key touch points, ensuring clarity and consistency in all brand interactions, marketers can be more confident that prospects are hearing the right messages, and better foster the conversations that are important to their company.

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