It’s Time to Rethink “Consumers in Control”
It doesn’t take a particularly keen observer to recognize that consumers are bombarded by data, information, and advertising on just about every available surface. Some of these surfaces are brand-new, and yet we rush to monetize them as if they were just another billboard-sized image on the side of a city bus. Marketing today evokes an almost dystopian image of a world resembling Times Square: giant screens filled with grinning faces and garish phosphorescent headlines assaulting people as they stumble down the street bewildered by the noise, lights, and messages coming at them from all directions. At home, on the street, on the subway, in our cars, even at work, we’re exposed to advertising content, be it via television, radio, mobile, tablet, out-of-home display, or even on the backs of our shopping carts.
How can people possibly filter through this information without losing their bearings? What should they pay attention to, think about, and act on, and what content can they blissfully ignore?
As marketers, we have mixed emotions about this information overload: we feel a bit guilty since we’re perpetuating this situation as content creators and owners, but at the same time, we worry that our messages will get lost in all the noise. Maybe we should shout louder than our competitors or make sure our messages appear on every screen at all the key moments in a consumer’s day. Or ...