We live in a world of expanding choice. A world where–if we are fortunate enough to have the money–almost anything can be purchased from almost anywhere in the world almost anytime we want. With the smart phone as a growing (and often omnipresent) access point, the web provides the portal to nearly infinite information and virtually unlimited products and services.
At one level this is a consumer bonanza. Limited data can now rarely be seen as a barrier to purchase. Prices are down, selection is up. A click replaces waiting until the store opens. Products come to us, rather than us going to them. Consumers are empowered in ways never thought imaginable.
Yet, more and more, we are faced with a tsunami of stuff. A bewildering array of seemingly undifferentiated products. Look-alike websites and marketing schemes. In-boxes chock-a-block with one-size-fits-all promotions. Spam, spam, spam, spam.
This growing mass of information and options–often combined with unrelenting interruption marketing–can be overwhelming. When the distracted consumer is the norm and it becomes increasingly harder to separate the signal from the noise, more is often less.
As our customers’ world grows ever noisier our reflexive response is often to dial things up to 11. Resist that urge.
The new battle ground is for share of attention. And we earn and command attention not through shouting louder than everyone else, throwing more at the wall to see what sticks or defaulting to using price as the only arrow in our quiver.
The antidote to a tsunami of stuff is to know more about our customers than the competition and to turn that insight into intensely relevant products and experiences.
The antidote to a tsunami of stuff is to eschew mass marketing techniques and to move aggressively toward more personalization and customization.
The antidote to a tsunami of stuff is to embrace editing and curation as a fundamental competency.
The antidote to a tsunami of stuff is to ruthlessly root out the friction in our customer experience and to distort those things we wish to amplify to the truly remarkable.
HT to Barry Schwartz and his TED talk on the The Paradox of Choice