In 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously stated that we now create more information in two days than we created from the dawn of man up until 2003. This staggering statistic obviously necessitates clarification of what constitutes information and its creation. Regardless, the message is clear and uncontested: humanity is creating and consuming far more information than it ever has before. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to get people’s attention, since they’re constantly bombarded with various stimuli throughout the day—material that ranges from breaking news to funny photos to Facebook updates. Marketers, salespeople, brand evangelists, and publishers must all figure out how to grab a slice of this attention—a task that is becoming more challenging by the day. How do you get people’s attention, and keep it long enough to share your message with them? Due to the sheer volume of “stuff” out there, it’s a formidable task to make yours stand out.

How do you appeal to an audience in a world of information overload in which people constantly face new inputs, options, and decisions? Ask the world’s biggest company, Apple. With a cash reserve larger than the total valuation of all but fifty companies worldwide (as of early 2012), this organization surely must have some insight into what people like. In the battle for MP3 player dominance, the iPod came in early and overshadowed the competition. What was, and still is, the key differentiator between this and other products? ...

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