According to the World Economic Forum, with the current rate of data production, the globe can output 463 billion gigabytes of data in a single day by 2025. Indeed, currently, the amount of information that is created every two days is roughly equivalent to the amount of information that was created between the beginning of human civilization and the year 2003 (Jackson and Farzaneh, 2012).
Between different devices, different mediums and platforms, the amount of information that individuals have to process can be overwhelming, affecting their mental health, concentration and their ability to carry out other tasks. Not to mention the impact on the environment when it comes to the energy consumption needed to support such high levels of data being used.
From employees to clients, what impact can information overload have?
Employees must now process significant amounts of information whilst at work. Whether it’s emails from external or internal contacts, corporate news bulletins, software notifications or messages on platforms such as Teams or Slack, there is no getting away from the fact that employees will be constantly interrupted throughout the day.
Having to keep up with this stream of notifications results in employees not being able to fully concentrate on specific tasks, becoming easily distracted, taking on too much and even risking burnout.
In a German based study (Meyer et al., 2021), information overload was cited as one of the most frequent stressors by 22.5% of respondents. And this has real financial consequences, as outlined by research by Basex which showed that information overload costs the
Other consequences include:
It is therefore in a brand’s best interest to consider if information overload is a real problem within their business and take the necessary steps to mitigate it, offering employees solutions and strategies to manage this issue.
Let’s look at some of the solutions.
Employees can receive information, notifications and requests through a variety of different channels but so much information means they are not always attentive to everything they receive. One study found that 2 in 3 employees and one out of two survey respondents (47.7%) said that reducing emails at work would make them happier in their job.
It's therefore wise to choose the right channel to communicate with employees, rather than a series of emails, could information be added to your intranet or presented in person?
Not only are you limiting how much information you are sending out, but you are reducing the number of notifications that employees receive. And whilst digital tools are important to any business, the benefits of in-person encounters are often more effective and less time consuming.
A project team’s Slack group can end up bombarding employees with multiple messages that do not apply to them. This can have an impact on how any given project progresses as employees might stop paying attention to the constant stream of messages in the group and miss when a message concerns them.
It’s as such a good idea to think about how to notify project members efficiently.
One way is to use a platform such as Digital Asset Management (DAM) to centralise all project information. Workflows can be established and as such each member can be notified within the platform as and when their input is needed. This is an efficient way to manage collaborative work, as different teams can come together on a project, but the workflow can be segmented so that they only see information relevant to them, helping to reduce how much information they have to process.
Communicating with your clients and customers is of the utmost importance to your business, but you’ll want to avoid being overbearing with how often you’re in touch with them. For not only are your audience receiving information from you, but are constantly having to process information from TV, radio, adverts and printed media. This can be overwhelming, so they will of course choose to focus on the messages which appeal or are relevant to them.
Whilst it’s necessary to let them know about your latest offers or news, sending out too many updates across all your channels is likely to make them switch off or at worst unsubscribe.
How then to hit the right balance?
A well-segmented database is key to helping ensure your clients and customers aren’t being overwhelmed by your communication messages.
Splitting up the database into various profiles, based on your audience’s interests is going to mean that one person doesn’t receive multiple newsletters or see the same message pop up on LinkedIn over and over.
By carefully selecting your audience by location, job title or interest through your newsletters, social media profiles and other channels, you’ll help to give your audience the relevant information that appeals to them in a restrained manner.
A well-connected software stack which aligns your CRM (Customer Relationship Management), CMS (Content Management System), DAM and social media platforms means being able to carefully consider the content that suits each audience profile and distribute it to them in the most efficient manner.
You may be convinced of your marketing and communications strategy, but how sure are you that it is actually working?
Most businesses will be sending out information across multiple channels such as their website, social media profiles and newsletters so audiences will be interacting with them in various ways. Tracking the performance of such content and the assets used is an important way of understanding if your audience are engaged or switched off.
A DAM platform for example, which is used to store a brand’s assets, can measure performance across all platforms, helping brands to assess if what they are doing is appealing to their audience or if they need to make changes.
As well as reducing the mental toll that affects individuals when they are faced with information overload, reducing the amount of communications your brand is producing is a way to make a positive environmental impact.
But, how so?
We know that there are many digital tools available to us to help manage our communications but it’s essential to focus on the ones which are relevant to our objectives and help to reduce our digital footprint.
An integrated MarTech stack for example streamlines how marketers can work and avoids the need to constantly upload and download assets from one platform to the next. With clear workflows and intuitive notifications, a DAM system which sits within a MarTech stack is a way to reduce the need for multiple tools and have information sit in one centralised place, meaning easy access and the reduction of data heavy tools such as file transfer, email and cloud storage.
With many organisations working in a siloed manner, the same information can be passed around without being centralised and assets (such as images, photos and videos) can be duplicated and saved within the same network.
This is where it becomes crucial to optimise your assets and ensure that the assets available for an organisation are optimal and easy to find.
A DAM system can prevent duplicates being added and provides a primary hub for all teams and divisions to find the information they are looking for, without having to spend time looking for it, or send messages to colleagues with queries.
This not only optimises employees’ time but it takes the weight off some of the data storage needed for organisations, preventing obsolete, duplicate or wrongly named assets being added, keeping only what is relevant.
Information overload has wide-ranging consequences, for individuals, employees, clients, not to mention the environmental impact.
This is why it’s important to take action, not only for the benefit of your business but for employees’ well-being and the protection of the planet.
Consider looking into tools which can help you achieve this such as a DAM system and if you’re interested in finding out more, why not request a demo?