28 Jun The Art of Persuasion – Top 5 list
In the race to sell more, marketers channel their messages through a wide range of funnels. Appealing to our softer side, sense of duty or urgency, and ease of acquisition, companies reach us with persuasion marketing through traditional and social media and the ever-present internet. “Bombardment” may be an understatement.
The broad spectrum of strategies to appeal to potential buyers has been present since the very first transaction, whenever that was. Only a century or so ago, newspapers, word-of-mouth and the ubiquitous Montgomery Ward catalog were just about the only marketing instruments to reach our great-grandparents’ porch swing. Artist renderings of fashions, tools, pickled pork and even do-it-yourself houses would feature narratives that explained how your own health and happiness could be enhanced by using their products. A bit more nuanced today, the strategies of advertising still aim their messages toward specific human behaviors.
The core 5 techniques of persuasion marketing designed to induce us to buy are authority, emotion, logic, impulse and social.
Appealing to the consumer with such attributes as company longevity, longstanding trustworthiness, industry honors, top-selling brands and reputation is a normal strategy for persuasion marketing. Only a relative handful of companies in any industry can truthfully pull this off, though stretching the truth is not a foreign concept in marketing. And many consumers tend to stick with their favorite brands all their lives with an “if it ain’t broke,…” point of view. This is commonly seen with automobiles, food brands and appliances. Once a Ford man, always a Ford man.
Appealing to emotion tends to get to the heart of the matter… or consumer. McDonald’s commercials from the 1980’s were subliminally designed to imbue consumers with the softer side of American life. An award-winning TV commercial titled “Camp Nippersink” depicted a dozen little girl campers in bright yellow rain slickers splashing through puddles to arrive at a McDonald’s. No food, no clowns, only happiness and Americana. Watching a YouTube rerun of these old commercials can still strike an emotional nerve. This and other similar commercials were extremely successful in growing the brand.
Persuasion marketing with logic is designed to attack the other side of the brain. A logic-based marketing execution is a “just the facts,ma’am” approach that attempts to sell by showing a product to be the undeniable winner of certain statistical comparisons. Though numbers do not lie, number selection is frequently jiggered. Automobiles can be compared using this logical approach. Numerical attributes like horsepower, time from 0 to 60 mph, stopping power and EPA fuel consumption ratings can influence auto purchasing decisions. Of course, the price of fuel at the time of purchase (and the credibility of certain auto manufacturer’s mpg ratings) can also affect decisions.
Logic is more frequently persuasion marketing style that works best for company buyers in a B2B situation. Since statistics are difficult to convey in 30-second TV spots or limited print ads, a business buyer looking for a solution is paid to examine all of the attributes and statistics in far more detail than the average consumer.
Impulse purchases are frequently a function of cost, timing and need. If I am hungry, I look for the nearest option. If I am running out of gas, I am not so particular about which company I use. If I am walking past an umbrella store during a rain storm, I may stop for an umbrella. Or, also impulsive, I might step into the bar next door for a beer and wait for the rain to stop.
While shopping at a factory outlet store, if I see a “2 blue jeans for $20” sign, I may very likely take them up on their offer.
Creating a sense of urgency, whether in a store or online, impulse offerings are usually accompanied by such statements as “ for a limited time only” or “while supplies last”.
We live in an age of social media and information overload. As we interact with “friends”, family and strangers via the internet, endorsements and condemnations are posted continually. If you don’t believe these are impactful, note that Forbes.com reported a recent Nielson survey that showed 92% of us believe word-of-mouth marketing from friends and family to be more important than any other advertising. Additionally, many have become addicted to customer reviews as a determinant for purchasing decisions such as hotels, plumbers and veterinarians.
Be aware that many people tend to write reviews about bad experiences before they will ever report good ones.
But before the internet, social sources had always been important resources for purchasing decisions. With the exception of that first buyer, buyers must have sought some sort of opinion feedback before buying a family home from a catalog.
But perhaps people were far more trusting a century ago. It’s possible.