Digital Immunology: The Plummeting Effectiveness of Modern Sales Gimmicks
Every few years, a new “trick” makes the rounds that promises great sales results with limited effort. Listicle promising “10 easy ways for X”, or “The Top 12 Y” quickly became the common product of marketing teams looking to generate quick easy eyeballs and high share counts.
They were soon followed by the you-won’t-believe-it headline era; with articles like “what Z used to look like will shock you” spiking in popularity just as quickly.
Today, the “did you see my last email” trick seems to be all the rage, with fake familiarity and manufactured email trails generating a quick blip in results for the first adopters.
But humans are smarter than this. Much like our white blood cells quickly adapt to recognize intruders and pathogens, our brains quickly adapt to recognize and ignore these tricks. The first wave may show some initial promise, much like the start of a bacterial infection is able to gain ground, but we are able to detect new patterns and intruders quickly.
Our “digital immune system” is as strong as our body’s own immune system, and the effectiveness of any of these gimmicks rapidly plummets.
Leaders tasked with growing revenue, either through sales or marketing, are wise to knowledgable about digital immunology, and use these approaches sparingly, and with caution. While any given gimmicky approach may appear to work, the success metrics hide three distinct dangers.
First, the effectiveness of any gimmick is likely to drop rapidly, and a current success is likely not repeatable. Second, most measurements are measurements of success, and do not count the negative impact of annoying large swaths of your prospective buyers. Third, as the gimmick becomes more well known, the chances that a person with buying power has been exposed to it and developed a “digital immune response” go up to nearly 100%, so if you do manage to connect with someone using the trick, it becomes less and less likely that it is anyone with any buying authority whatsoever.
There is no better approach for the long term than doing the hard work. Create a great product or service offering. Build trust over the long term with buyers. Add value where you can, long in advance of trying to sell. Develop your network, and encourage everyone in your entire company to develop their own networks.
Quality and trust are not gimmicks, they are the things that every buyer needs. They are the things that digital immunology will not reject, and they will bring success long after the latest fad has died.