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Blog Outside Insight: Dave Coplin, Microsoft's digital guru, explains the ?digital deluge?

Cover of The Rise of the Humans by Dave Coplin Blog - Outside Insight: Dave Coplin, Microsoft's digital guru, explains the ?digital deluge?

Dave Coplin is the Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK and an established thought leader in the UK.

This year he published the book The Rise of the Humans: How to Outsmart the Digital Deluge. He?s passionate about making technology more valuable in our daily lives.

To kick off our new series Outside Insight, featuring a range of industry thought leaders, we asked Dave for his words of wisdom on a number of issues around technology and marketing. This is Part Two of his contribution.

You describe the problems of the ?digital deluge?. What do marketers and brands need to understand about people?s potential technology fatigue?

We live in incredible times, technology has evolved to become a crucial element of our modern digital lives and yet, with all this we feel as if we are stuck under an incredible ?deluge? that threatens to drown us, smothering us in a seemingly endless ocean of information and experiences.

The deluge is actually in two dimensions and these combine to make the problem much worse. The first dimension is obvious, we live in a world of ?too much information?. Thanks to the internet, our society has access to everything our society knows, from opinions to facts to new experiences, it?s all there for our enjoyment. But it?s the second dimension that pushes this problem over the edge, thanks to a world of compelling, beautiful, engaging mobile devices, we now have access to too much information wherever we go, whatever we?re doing, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep.

We did some research on this recently and found some of the results alarming. From our survey of UK workers, we found that 58% of UK workers will check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up and similarly, 52% of them will check their phones within fifteen minutes before they go to sleep. As a result, most people are simply drowning in a world of ?too much? and as a result, many feel that they are unable to separate the useful from the useless in their own digital journey.

Marketers and brands need to really understand this if they want their content and campaigns to stand out. Understanding ?context? is a huge part of this. I?ve often said this in the past but in our digital future it will be ?context? not ?content? that will be king. If you want to break through the deluge and really ?reach? (in all possible senses) your audience, you should really try to understand the context in which your audience will be when they consume your content.

Mobile is a classic example of this. Instead of simply scraping the contents of your existing web-site and simply redesigning them for a smaller screen, brands should be thinking about why would someone choose to engage with their brand or campaign on a mobile device? The fact that they are using a mobile device will give you a clue as to the context they will be in (perhaps looking for more information in a physical retail store or looking to book tickets while commuting etc). If brands and advertisers can answer those questions ? then you can design the mobile experience around that which in turn will deliver a much more relevant experience for the audience you want to reach.

If consumers become tired of being bombarded with advertising messages, is native advertising any more palatable?

Of course, and in many senses, native advertising is a stepping stone to our future, a world where advertising is almost always presented within the context of the consumer and in a way that only serves to make the overall experience better. Some would argue that there is a backlash against advertising in a digital world, but I would simply argue that as consumers gain further experience of what a digital ?life? really means, their expectations of what ?good? is, extends accordingly. As a result there are simply higher expectations for what brands need to do in order to be relevant and to cut through the deluge.

So there isn?t really a problem with advertising per se, but there is a backlash against bad advertising in a digital world, a world of ?dumb? ads, where individuals are surrounded by irrelevant content that is oblivious to their context.

Related reading:

Outside Insight: Dave Coplin launches our new industry thought leadership series
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