The world is changing. It's getting smaller. Ironically, the smaller it gets, the more choice there seems to be.

Think about travel:

  • In the early 1800s, a trip from Toronto to New York would involve horses, or a stagecoach, 12-plus days and significant risk and expense.
  • In the mid 1800s, the trip could be managed by steam locomotive, taking a mere week.
  • During the 1950s, the glory days of the automobile, a road trip would take about 10 hours.
  • Today, 10 hours by plane can get you anywhere in North America or Europe, and half way to Asia.

The same can be said about watching TV:

  • The 1950s provided a handful of choices, limited by the antenna's range and the small number of production studios.
  • The 1980s and 1990s brought the 1,000-channel universe.
  • Today, the Internet gives us literally billions of channels, all available on demand.

Entire industries are being collapsed: The music industry, the book publishing industry, and the newspaper industry are just a few that are in complete disarray. And downstream from these are the retailers — When was the last time you went into a record store or book store?

While this collapse might suggest less choice, a simple Internet search shows a vast number of places to purchase or download the product. The challenge with the smaller, million-choice world is that it is too easy to get lost among these choices. Consider:

  • How often do you spend "clicking" through the TV channels, without settling on one particular station?
  • How often do you spend surfing through the Web, discovering fascinating new websites and interesting trivia?
  • How often do you feel the pull of social media, checking out others' profiles, or narcissistically posting on your own?

So much choice means that we need to know what we are looking for and why before we begin our expedition of discovery. This is true for us as individuals, and doubly so for our organizations.

This week, look at your marketing processes more carefully. What are you doing specifically to take into account today's smaller, million-choice world? How might you take advantage of these changes?

Some ideas include selling globally, crowd-sourcing innovation, implementing marketing automation and CRM, as well as implementing loyalty and membership programs.