Marketers are very focused on whatever it is that they are promoting.

But this skews their judgement.  Because that thing is so important to them, takes up such a huge amount of their brain space and consumes so much of their emotional energy, they forget that nobody else gives a shit about it.

Every individual in their target audience is equally focused on what it is that pays their own wages and floats their own boat.

Do I look like I’m interested?

Observe people closely, when they pass you in their car, push their trolley around the supermarket, or even talk to you in the pub, and you’ll realise that most of them are floating around in their own self-absorbed bubble, sealed up in little capsule that insulates them from most of what is happening around them.

What’s more, they really don’t want anyone/anything else, including you, to intrude on their “personal space”.  Which makes it damn hard to market anything to them.

Too much information

There are a number of reasons for this, but one is information overload (a term popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book Future Shockalso known as infobesity or infoxication).  People have so much “stuff” coming at them every day (emails, texts, pop-ups, tweets, pokes, press ads, radio/TV commercials, junk mail, sales calls…blah blah…) that they just tune everything out in order to stay sane!

I’ve been looking for some relatively up to date data that underlines just how serious the problem has become – but it has been hard to find (in amongst all the other data out there).  But I’ve just stumbled across some recent figures.  Read the list below and you’ll realise why people have retreated into their personal space – and how good your marketing has got to be to get through the firewall they’ve constructed around themselves.

Data about data

The information supply is now exploding at a scary pace:

  • Human beings have been around about 2,300,000 years yet 90% of all the data now in the world has been generated over the last two years
  • “Between the dawn of civilization through 2003 about 5 exabytes of information was created. Now, that much information is created every 2 days” (Eric Schmidt – former Google CEO)
  • In the US, people who text either send or receive an average of 35 texts per day
  • 28% of office workers’ time is spent dealing with emails
  • The typical Internet user is exposed to 1,707 banner ads per month
  • The human brain has a theoretical memory storage capacity of 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes)
  • The maximum number of pieces of information a human brain can handle concurrently is seven (Miller’s Law)
  • Information overload is linked to greater stress, and poorer health
  • Overuse of social media can lead to short-term memory loss

Moral:  mediocre marketing is a complete waste of time, effort and money.  So next time you decide that hiring a good copywriter is too expensive think again.  It’s not as costly as marketing communications that go ignored.


Picture credit Martin Czerwinski