Every night, shortly after my nine year old son goes to bed, he calls out, “Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, Dad.”

He does the same about ten minutes later. Then again a short time after that. And again.

My wife and I roll our eyes and say, “Goodnight, Thomas!”

This same scenario plays out every evening.

When I asked him why he feels compelled to wish us goodnight repeatedly in this way, he replied, “Sorry Dad, but I have excess voice and need to get it out before I can go to sleep.”

Interesting concept. Excess voice.

And not a bad description of North American life in the last decade of this millennium.

Our lives are drowning in the excess voice of others. TV, radio, billboards, catalogues and, of course, that most excessive of all voice-generators the Internet.

The Internet has given voice to everyone with a computer and telephone line.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t all have the opportunity to have our voices heard.

It’s the excess that gets to me.

And what might this have to do with direct marketing online?

Well, I have a feeling that excess voice is going to start depressing responses to just about any online marketing effort.

The online environment is getting noisier and noisier. Heaven help us when ‘broadband’ finally gets to us. That will mean more noise, more rich media, more flashing and sound.

As the noise level increases, we’ll have to shout louder and louder in order just to be heard.

So how can you make your voice heard among all this noise?

Easy. You sign up for membership in ExcessVoice.com the latest fantasy invention of my troubled imagination.

ExcessVoice.com would be a ‘portal’ through which people could visit ecommerce sites and buy great stuff.

But there’s a catch.

To have your ecommerce site featured at ExcessVoice.com you have to abide by the following Rules of Membership:

  1. No page may be larger than 8KB.

  2. No page may be further than three clicks away from the homepage.
  3. No animation or sound allowed.
  4. Every newsletter or email program must be 100 percent opt-in and no more than 200 words in length.
  5. No more than one newsletter or email per month.

As you can see, the average ecommerce site would crash and burn on rule number one alone.

But imagine the pleasure of going shopping through ExcessVoice.com.

What a simple, calm place it would be. Fast downloads, easy to navigate. No hard sells or multiple emails or chatty online ‘helpers.’

(And how am I going to make my millions with ExcessVoice.com? First, I’m going to charge big bucks for the development of ecommerce sites that abide by my stringent rules. Second, I’m going to take a slice of every sale.)

The moral of the story? In a commercial environment that is becoming increasingly noisy, there may be an alternative to just shouting louder.

It may be that you can sell more by offering a much quieter, simpler and calmer customer/merchant relationship.

Related reading