Business decisions, rocket science, and understanding the difference.

Part 4.  |  How else are we supposed to get the attention of potential customers unless we overwhelm them with information and communication about that information on a constant, and overwhelming, basis? So many choices out there mean we have to be louder and bolder and smarter and faster and bigger and better to get customers to choose us versus them, right?! Better SEO, better analytics, better anticipation, better creativity, better strategy, better tactics, better everything. And more of it!

Well, not so fast my friends. Because like you, customers are human. There is only so much information that the human brain can absorb and process and recall before it gets relegated to that vast wasteland of discarded overload. So what to do, what to do?

Here’s an idea – keep it simple.

Information Overload Icon

Wait…whuuuuuut? Blasphemy is what that is. Customer acquisition is supposed to be hard and difficult and expensive and complex and, well, hard.

Or is it. As noted in a Harvard Business Review article penned by Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman, “Over the past two decades, a wide range of experiments have shed light on how an excess of information and choice impairs decision making.”

The Paradox of Choice - Infographic

One of the most common consumer responses to the excess is to forgo a purchase altogether. In a classic experiment, Sheena Iyengar, then a doctoral student and now a professor at Columbia Business School, set out pots of jam on supermarket tables in groups of either 6 or 24. About 30% of those who were given 6 choices bought some jam; only 3% of those confronted with 24 choices did. As the psychologist Barry Schwartz demonstrates in The Paradox of Choice, an excess of input leads to angst, indecision, regret, and ultimately lower satisfaction with both the purchase process and the products themselves. Dozens of related lines of research confirm what now seems like common sense: Too much choice or too much information can be paralyzing.

So then what do we do to win over the hearts and the minds of the consumer in clean, “simple,” and effective fashion? Stay tuned…that’s enough inundation for the moment. Part 5: Cut the Clutter →