New research by US-based confirms what many have long suspected: people get increasingly overwhelmed by information, communication and marketing messages through online channels. The company's "Digital Lifestyle" research shows that it's becoming more difficult for so-called professional internet users to cope with the stream of communication and to distinguish essential information from less important information. Furthermore, many messages remain unanswered...

Of course, this mostly depends on the degree in which each individual is using the internet and what different online channels and tools mean for their personal digital lifestyle, but the conclusions are clear.

About half the people in the research panel, which mainly exists of professionals (managers, journalists, those who use the internet extensively in other words), claim to be online from the moment they rise out of bed until going to bed. However, even they didn't succeed in coping with all the news and information. Moreover: large part claims that their attempts to stay updated in the relentless stream of information, comes at the expense of spending time with family and friends.

A massive tidal wave in figures

64.2% of the participants said that the information they receive had increased over 50% (!) in comparison to the previous year. Nearly 73% of the respondents described the information overload with superlative terms, such as: a "roaring river" or a "massive tidal wave."

Due to the multitude of information and communication, people feel that they are missing even more important things and keep needing more time to stay involved. This time often comes at the expense of personal time. Over 35% of the interviewees answer e-mails while they are with their children.

Some data:

  • 76.7% of the respondents read and answer emails in the evening or during weekends. 
  • 43.2% spend time during an appointment or in company of others (e.g. friends) to answer text messages or emails.
  • 57.4% never switch off their phone.
  • 33% check their e-mail in the middle of the night. 
  • 46.9% are no longer able to answer every e-mail.
  • 41.4% feel they miss out on important news.  

The report is filled with more of such startling data.

Technological and human solutions to avoid marketing fatigue and increase information flow control

The majority of the respondents plead for smarter solutions and ways to perform "content curation", to filter messages, search for information, etc.
The digital lifestyle demands an ever-increasing part of our lives in a multi-channel world. Especially for people who use the internet intensively for their occupation, just like the majority of the aforementioned respondents taking part in this research.

It is simply becoming more difficult for people to filter information.  And it's very important to realize that this is not caused by technology only, and that it will not be solved by technology. In their interactions with consumers and customers, companies have a responsibility to make it as easy and valuable as possible for people.

Simplify your cross-channel messaging: improve and personalize your communication

Marketers must ensure that their messages are targeted and synchronized. They should avoid overlapping communication and marketing fatigue (read the white paper). They should also let people choose their own communication channels more. Provide alternatives, because people will increasingly search for them in their quest for coping with information.

There is a tremendous opportunity for companies that wish to communicate in a relevant manner and share or spread information. The company, that really wants to make a difference, can even offer filtered and information (content curation) from third parties, if it's valuable for their customers.

Because one thing is clear: if people miss out on information because they cannot longer cope with the flow of it, they will also miss your messages. Unless your communication protrudes at all levels and is user-friendly, relevant and steered by the customer.

Again, this is a plea for a holistic marketing approach, a cross-channel approach and innovative data-driven, partially automated and event-driven communication.
The objective: provide user-friendly and customer oriented information and content in order to get noticed in an ever-growing information stream.
Note: the research, which can be found below, only represents online information... Imagine how people feel if you add offline to it.The Digital Lifestyle Survey

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