2017: Finding Time to be Real

by Susan


New York Times Cartoon

Click. Delete. Trash. Toss.

I admit it; much of 2016 was a blur of just trying to keep up, while wondering who the heck was accelerating the clock. How did an entire year go by in the span of maybe 4 or 5 months??? I blew through email solicitations, deleted (without returning) phone messages from hard-working and well-meaning service providers, tossed innumerable—and in many cases, very clever—direct mail pieces, with no more than a cursory glance.

And I’m a marketer. It’s my job to come up with pitches that resonate, approaches that guarantee a response.

Content Shock ChartThe hard truth is, we are all literally being bombarded with content, practically 24-7. At the B2B Marketing Forum this past fall, I was presented with a terrifying fact: there’s more content created today than there are actual people to consume it. This was defined as content shock. It’s apparently an actual thing, and sadly, we’ve all fallen victim to it.

Standing out in a sea of clutter from an ever-expanding array of social channels is no easy task these days – even for scholarly journals. Compound that with the challenge of reducing important – even critical – data to a space the size of a phone or Apple watch screen. I mean, seriously. This is the world in which we live. Most projections have us consuming our content primarily by phone or watch within the next 3 years. Desktop formatting will be a luxury that those of us who generate content can’t afford to count on as the main platform. It’s time to face the music.

And, attention spans. Content and platform shock have already done their damage. As a parent of a millennial, I recognize this not only in my child, but in myself. It’s not a function of age, it’s a function of being socially connected in this decade. We flit from one format or tidbit of information to another and often forget how we got to where we’re at (a condition my boss refers to as the rabbit hole, and she’s right). Savvy marketers are telling us to go with single column layouts so our consumers can easily scroll through it with their thumbs. Yes, in 2017, the thumb is king. Heaven help us.

In spite of this harangue, I’ve decided to slow it down in 2017.

My friend Carl Landau understands today’s malady, and isn’t having any of it. In fact, as a successful niche magazine publisher, entrepreneur, and founder and Grand Poobah of Niche Media and its wildly popular publisher events, Carl knew long ago that good relationships are built and business is best done ear-to-ear and face-to-face. Check out his blog from 2013: Ad Sales People: Pick up the Damn Phone!

Yes, despite the lightning pace of information hurling my way, I vow in 2017 to be a little more human. Read the direct mailers that really might have value for me, keep up with twitter posts from relevant and worthy sources, answer the phone and listen. Really consider the message before deciding to delete. I feel we all might try to do this with intention—manage our content consumption with clarity, discernment, and presence—so that this content-bloated world doesn’t end up managing us.