Rescuing The Internet From Infocrats

If the true commercial possibilities of the Internet are to be realized, the medium must be rescued from the “Infocrat” who believes in “information uber alles.”

It is common to hear within Internet marketing circles that the key to future commercial possibilities will be in “perfect information flow.” With smart bots searching the web for the lowest prices, sites adding yet more content, and the ease of getting information from myriad sources, information is seen to be the salvation for sales.

This is simply ridiculous. Adding more information is not necessarily the key to closing the sale. In fact, too much information can interfere with the sale. The Internet may be a new medium, but it’s wrong to believe that human nature will be transformed by the medium, regardless of changing behaviors. A sales transaction will always be an extraordinary event. It’s an emotional decision when we humans are doing the buying.

Failing to grasp the emotional dimension of the sale leads to a sterile transaction that assumes rational behavior. It also leads to rational solutions… add just one more bit of information… lower the price just a few more pennies below my competition… and so forth. Infocrats are notoriously devoid of a transactional sales imagination.

What is a “transactional sales imagination?”

It is what comes to the heart of most sales. To complete a sale, one needs to discover what makes a potential consumer tick. One needs to find compelling, emotionally charged methods of communicating. Have you ever wondered why the 800-number Ginzu Knives commercials have so much energy? You may not like them, but they work! People need to be motivated to buy.

I remember a Triple Edge Windshield Wiper ad on television (it sold over 7 million pair) that worked because they smeared mud on the windshield and cleaned it with the wiper blades. Or remember the Crazy Glue ad with the guy (John Goodman before he was a star) hanging from his hard hat?

Nobody smears mud on their windshield or hangs from a beam stuck on with glue, but these were compelling messages. They were short, dramatic, and memorable. They exhibited a “transactional sales imagination.” We believe Internet advertising messages must develop excitement to close the sale online…research be damned.

One of the problems that Internet marketers have is that too many companies are led by engineers instead of sales people! The earliest adopters on the Internet were technically minded people who searched for technological solutions to everyday problems. It’s as if they substituted personality for technology. So many times people spend too much time thinking what could be done without considering whether it should be done.

The problem permeates the entire spectrum of the industry. We have a network of email newsletters with over six million opt-in subscribers to over 200 different newsletters. Within the newsletters are text ads. We’ve had advertisers send us copy that’s termed “subtle.” They don’t want to “sell” in the ad. We’ve had newsletter owners shriek with bold selling propositions because “this seems too much like an ad.”

Disguising advertising so it doesn’t look like advertising creates low conversion rates. Who is leading the charge in this march to neutering the sales message? Infocrats!

Infocrats beware… get some passion and add it to your site, add it to your sales messages, whether through email, banners, or web design. When you get a pair of eyeballs looking at your message, close the sale right then and there. That’s what making a sale is all about.

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