Something interesting happened lately on my Facebook feed that opened my eyes regarding the most basic tendencies of human nature and how our society processes media in 2012. People have finely tuned BS detectors. Because of the ways we can communicate so openly and freely, there is a non-stop stream of emails, banners, Facebook ads, Google ads, and now even Twitter ads. People in this day and age suffer from “banner blindness” and have become adept at avoiding your ads altogether.   Folks know when they’re being pitched. Long gone are the days where we could slather on a layer of ” free”, or fire-hose our customers with promo codes, coupons, and value-adds.  In my line of work, I’m incredibly blessed to be able to do a lot of what I love: observe people and figure out what their needs are, how to help them, and determine why they do what they do. To watch the human experience is a treat (in this case literally) and so incredibly fascinating.

You’re probably wondering why I have added an image of this masterpiece to our post. I have reasons. Two weeks ago Pinnacle Cart gave away a year-long subscription for search engine optimization software. Sycara is a referral partner that provides SEO software and they have an amazing suite of tools to help SMBs with their search rankings. We are very excited about this partnership. Because Pinnacle and Sycara are committed to customer success, and we want to see people win, we offered this service for one year for free to the customer on our shopping cart software platform who could give us the very best success story. We were so FORTUNATE to be able to share this story. Using Pinnacle, our client truly changed their lives and they’re going to be opening a brick and mortar store so they can retire from their day jobs early because of the huge success they’re having online. The reason I am going into detail about this is because people hear “press release/news flash/breaking news/come get your free stuff today” stories and their BS detectors blow up. Even when these stories are incredibly informative, inspirational, and might even convince a handful of prospective customers that they want to use our services, they seldom if ever gain any traction in a society that is so inundated with content.

I don’t share my company stuff on my Facebook feed very often. The things my company is working on are VERY important to me, but I don’t want to be that guy with his pointer and Power Point deck at the family reunion.  I made an exception out of excitement for our client, their success, and the partnership with our SEO software company friends. When I shared the story about our clients getting amazing software for free that will enable them to take their business to a completely new level, there was NOTHING. The silence was deafening.

Later in the day, when I shared the picture of the Krispy Kreme Sausage Bacon Breakfast Burger on Facebook, the lack of response to our client success announcement was so much more evident because of the intense noise created by this freakishly unhealthy food imagery. There were probably 20 comments within an hour. The responses ranged from “Disgusting” to “I approve of this meal =D”. My sister said she was falling asleep while she was posting in response to another comment my wife had just made. Because of the spirited response triggered by this image, I could not let this amazing object lesson and content go to waste. Commenters literally couldn’t stop talking about it. As I watched this unfold, I thought to myself “the jig is up” and the way we sell our products and services to people is forever changed. This is noteworthy because of the aggressive sales tactics still deployed by huge brands when they should clearly know better. People’s heartstrings and their purse strings are wound irreversibly together and these are the interactions going forward that will allow us to reach our customers. There is high shock value with this picture, but it is a relatively harmless piece of content. Interacting with it requires zero commitment. In other words, it fails to register with the public’s BS detectors, but is still incredibly emotive.

This transpired the week before I was set to attend the Hubspot Inbound 2012 conference in Boston. I’d already sensed the significance, but the keynote by Gary Vaynerchuck spoke so specifically to these changes we see in marketing and selling that I couldn’t avoid writing this even if I wanted to. Gary highlighted the significance of the emotional impact of social media and how the game has been changed forever. I couldn’t agree more as I was listening to his words, and I also couldn’t get the image of this delicious breakfast confection out of my mind either. The way we market and are marketed to has been irreversibly changed forever. Next time you feel like reaching out to a customer to pitch them, let them know you care, and cater to their sentiments and your words will likely carry farther. Happy (soft) selling everyone!

Jordan Foutz is the Director of Marketing for Pinnacle Cart and loves eCommerce, the web, and helping Pinnacle Cart merchants sell the lights out with Pinnacle’s eCommerce hosting. You can also follow Jordan on Google+

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