Are your customers low or high information?

Low information people tend to be highly
emotional, impulsive and habitual. They hero worship. They blindly trust their instincts
and fiercely distrust everything and everyone else. Much traditional marketing
and advertising was designed to pull the emotional triggers of low information
people and get them to hero worship brands. This reached its perfection where
low information consumers met low information products. These are impulsive,
addictive or habitual products that most of us don’t—or don’t want to—think too
much about. They include snacks, fast foods, alcohol, cigarettes, sugary
drinks.

We tend to see this low information hero
worshipping marketing and communication as the only marketing and
communication. This is because it is mass marketing. We have seen it everywhere
for most of our lives.

As our societies have evolved, we have seen
a steady rise in high information consumers and high information products.
Better education, computers and smartphones have, by and large, made many of us
smarter and more skeptical.

People tend to be a mix of low and high
information consumers, depending on the product or service. There are people
who are low information when it comes to their health, for example, but who
will be very high information about choosing a camera. Most of us are a complex
often contradictory mix.

Someone once said that we are not rational
animals but rather rationalizing animals. Sure, emotion drives people but it is
not the only driver. Emotion alone didn’t build the space shuttle or the
iPhone. We are led to believe that fake news is sweeping the world and that
facts don’t matter. Fake news always swept the world, and if facts historically
mattered why have so many people believed in religion down through the ages?

Objective journalism was never that
objective. Many of the world’s greatest dictators (Hitler, Stalin, Mao) were
journalists. Governments regularly lied to their citizens. The ‘upper class’
were—and still are—consummate liars. Brands like Coca Cola turned an addictive,
obesity and diabetes-causing, sugar-saturated fizzy drink into a must-have
brand for the cool generation.

What has changed is our ability and
willingness to identify fake news. There is a growing number of people who are
prepared to wade through high information messiness, who wish to analyze,
compare and evaluate. After all, if everyone had all the answers, we wouldn’t
need to search so much. There are about 60,000 searches every second on Google.

Many have stopped trusting politicians,
brands and elites not because the elites have become less trustworthy but
rather because we have become more knowledgeable and aware of the lies and fake
news that are constantly being served to us.  

In this world of contradictions and
opposites, many organizations still play the low information game, even when
they have high information customers, and even when they have positive facts to
present. Carousels pumped with fake news. Effusively smiling fakes pretending
to be customers. Content so empty that it hardly even deserves to be called
fake.

If you know your customers are the low
information type, then using traditional, mass marketing branding is still the perfect
tactic. If, on the other hand, they’re high information customers, you need to
show them that you’re useful. You need to give them the facts because that’s
what they want.  

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