Freshness versus Overload

Yesterday, after offering a comment on her post “The Plural Nature of Marketing Perfection”, Ardath Albee and I corresponded by e-mail. She had read my post “Use Web 2.0 when It Makes Sense” and questioned the idea of freshness:

“Is this becoming a constant struggle to always have something “new” available? It does feel that way, but it makes me wonder how much we’re losing by focusing on freshness of content instead of value…or are we?”

She followed up with a new post of her own, “Does Content Have an Expiration Date?”.

In my example yesterday, I’m not so sure that freshness was the issue so much as overload. That is where I see us losing the value. For instance, let’s say 70,000 videos get uploaded again today on MySpace. Some of those videos could be great things first viewed as long as 10 years ago. But the 1,000,000 people on MySpace that would want to see them might never get to, simply because there is too much to wade through.

True, search algorithms are getting better at returning relevant content. But so are the number of sponsored links and other ads that we must wade through to get to what we want. Even then, there could easily be thousands of choices. Thus overload would trump freshness.

Now, once you do find the right venue and connect directly with your customers (the true value in interactive marketing), then freshness does become an issue. You combat things getting stale through innovative interactions and integration that center on a theme and not just a one-time execution.

If you look at most viral videos, for example, they are unique, which means that if they are part of a campaign, that same uniqueness must be recreated every time, or your audience will lose interest.

With the technological advances we have seen, particularly in the online world, we seem to have forgotten that solid marketing is about connecting with your consumer, whatever segment he or she is in. It is about direct engagement at a venue where they are ready, willing and able to participate.

And you can’t pander to them or put something on their screen for them to spread across the internet universe. Because if it does, then you haven’t spoken to that customer, you have simply amused or entertained them. That is an expensive proposition.

There is greater value in direct engagement and interaction with your customer, using a fresh spin on an existing theme (or testing a new theme altogether—fodder for another post) than in wading through massive audiences who in turn are wading through massive amounts of information.

I like what Ardath has to say at the end of her content post:

“If content is only considered new for an hour, day, week or month, then relevance is going to determine its ability to catch attention before it’s considered ‘old’ news.”

So the issue then appears to be the role freshness plays in how, when and where you engage your audience. And the audience’s ability to interact with your message how, when and where you need them to.

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