Tag Archive | "Persuasion"

Persuasion Lessons from the Political Trenches

the dance between listening and speaking

Whew. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been an intense election season in the U.S.

And if you haven’t noticed … I hope your visit to rural Mongolia has been enjoyable and productive.

Wherever you may happen to live, watching political campaigns is a fascinating — and sometimes nerve-wracking — way to see the art of persuasion in action.

Now that we’re (thankfully) just about wrapped up with the U.S. election, I thought it would be interesting to look at how political persuasion works, how it’s being used, and how it entwines itself through our daily lives.

We’ll start with the most powerful force in political persuasion … and in lots of other persuasive arguments.

Unity is the granddaddy

The phenomenon that Robert Cialdini calls Unity (you could also call it group identity) has always been one of the most important forces in politics. It’s why we have political parties.

“The kind of candidate I vote for” quickly becomes, for many, “who I am.”

Unity comes from beliefs, and beliefs shape nearly everything we perceive. What we pay attention to, the weight we give different arguments, and the lens we use to interpret what we see all come from beliefs.

By the way, that isn’t just true for political campaigns. It’s how the human mind works — and if you imagine that you’re one of the special few who’s immune to bias, you’ll be that much more vulnerable to it.

When I first got online, we thought that connecting human minds across the globe would make it virtually impossible to lie, manipulate, or distort, because the collective would automatically swoop in and correct the distorted information.

I’ll just wait here for a moment while you finish laughing.

Instead, the web created massive, loose tribes of belief (at times you might call them gangs), armed with their own beliefs and — sadly often — their own facts.

Your content may have nothing to do with politics — maybe you write about healthcare, or finance, or parenting.

But all content is informed by beliefs. The more clearly we can see our own worldview, the better able we’ll be to attract like-minded audiences and serve them well.

Stories are more powerful than anything (except Unity)

The most interesting political ads for me are the stories about “people like us” who have particular challenges and difficulties — and who illustrate the candidates’ positions on different issues.

Even when they’re told very simply (remember Joe the Plumber?), they’re powerful.

Stories cut through the clutter of platform, politics, and pontification, and get to the root of why we bother voting at all.

A well-crafted story can move us to laughter, astonishment, tears, or anger (all the Facebook reaction icons!) — sometimes within the span of a minute or two.

Where do we find great stories?

The best way to find great stories is to listen to your “constituents” — the people who read your blog, listen to your podcast, watch your videos, and buy your products or services.

Find out about the struggles they’ve faced, and how they’ve managed them. Those stories hold power, and they create lasting impressions.

The dance between listening and speaking (Get out and vote!)

Good politicians (oxymoron?) listen to uncover what’s not right, so they can speak to it and maybe even improve things.

Good content creators are listeners as well. We make a point of going where our customers are, listening for problems, capturing snippets of language, and trying to understand the deep ideas and values that move our audiences.

But there’s also a time to participate, and not just listen.

So: If you’re a U.S. voter and you haven’t already done it, please vote today!

There aren’t any perfect candidates (in any election, anywhere), but most people reading this have the tremendous good fortune to be able to weigh in on the laws that govern us.

Did you vote? Let us know in the comments! In the interest of keeping some shred of civility, please refrain from mentioning your candidate … or that other one you can’t stand. :)

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Understanding the Brain Science Behind Effective Persuasion, with Roger Dooley


The ancient Greeks — notably Aristotle — used anecdotal observation to nail much of what we know about persuasion. The fundamentals of the art haven’t changed much in 2,300 years, because human nature hasn’t changed, even as the context in which we operate has changed dramatically.

In the 20th century, social psychology took the ancient principles of rhetoric and proved them correct in controlled experiments. The work of Dr.Robert Cialdini in particular helped prove the power of authority, social proof, scarcity, and other fundamental aspects of influence.

Now, we have neuroscience. Brain imaging allows us to go beyond observing human response alone, and see which parts of the brain “light up” while responding the way we do in certain situations.

Roger Dooley is the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing. Today he joins us to reveal the keys to understanding what makes people choose and behave the way we do, along with some cutting-edge thoughts about “tribal” marketing.

Listen to this Episode Now

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The Two Sides of the Persuasion Coin

copyblogger weekly

Remember the classic Saturday Night Live sketch?

Is it a dessert topping? Is it a floor wax? It’s both!

This week, we’ll look at two seemingly very different sides of the marketing and persuasion coin.

One side features traditional sales and marketing techniques; the other shows a more educational, audience-building angle — sometimes called a “soft” marketing approach.

They seem like opposites, but in fact, each side benefits and supports the other. Smart marketers will use both … hopefully with a little more grace than a combination dessert topping/floor wax.

Asking for what you want

One of the cornerstones of traditional sales and marketing is making the “ask” — sometimes known as the call to action.

On Monday, Pamela Wilson shared an excerpt with us from her new book, all about the nuts and bolts of crafting effective calls to action. This is a technique you can pick up fairly quickly, and it will make a major difference in how your audience responds to your offers.

(Also, I was lucky enough to get an advance review copy of Pamela’s new book, and it’s insanely useful. You can pre-order now at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores.)

On the audio side of the house, Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick of Members Only talk with Chris Voss, best-selling author of Never Split the Difference, about a more advanced way to ask for what you need — the art of negotiation.

Voss was an FBI hostage negotiator … and has some counterintuitive (and surprisingly entertaining) insights about how advanced persuasion works.

Showing what you can do

The other side of that persuasion coin is to show your audience what you have to offer — which is what content marketing is all about.

Jeff Goins has a lovely post this week about “practicing in public” — getting out there in front of your audience and doing the work, even when you don’t feel ready. It takes courage, but it’s a remarkable way to not only polish your skills, but to create an unshakeable bond with your audience.

The post shows Jeff’s signature mix of inspiration and straight-talking pragmatism, and I think it will fire you up to get something in front of your audience now, not “when it’s ready.”

Enjoy the week’s content, and I’ll catch you next Thursday!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

How to get attention and actionPowerful Calls to Action: How to Get Your Reader to Take the Next Step

by Pamela Wilson

Build interest when you share your workA More Tasteful Alternative to Self-promotion: Practice in Public

by Jeff Goins

Forget these lessons to become a better writer7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School

by Jonathan Morrow

How to Master the Art of NegotiationHow to Master the Art of Negotiation

by Sean Jackson

When Is the Right Time to Start Another Podcast?When Is the Right Time to Start Another Podcast?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor

The Importance of Entrepreneurial Mental HealthThe Importance of Entrepreneurial Mental Health

by Brian Gardner & Lauren Mancke

Are One-on-One Connections the Key to Jumpstarting Your Online Business?Are One-on-One Connections the Key to Jumpstarting Your Online Business?

by Brian Clark & Jerod Morris

Behind the Scenes at Copyblogger: Our New Email ApproachBehind the Scenes at Copyblogger: Our New Email Approach

by Sonia Simone

How Bestselling Author Jennifer Weiner Writes: Part OneHow Bestselling Author Jennifer Weiner Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid

Tips for Crowdfunding a New Product (Or Your Entire Business), with Khierstyn RossTips for Crowdfunding a New Product (Or Your Entire Business), with Khierstyn Ross

by Brian Clark


Authority Business Coaching Call with Giuseppe Fratoni

with Sonia Simone, Pamela Wilson, and Giuseppe Fratoni

Session Available Now

Are you working on differentiating your business from your competitors’ businesses? Watch this week’s Authority Business Coaching session, where we focus on one member’s business. This month, Sonia Simone and Pamela Wilson chat with Rome-based digital marketing strategist Giuseppe Fratoni — they help him identify the unique positioning he can use to stand out from the crowd.

Join Authority to attend this session

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Email, Belonging, and the Compelling ‘New’ Element of Persuasion


(Tap tap … Is this thing on?)

Oh, hi! Welcome to the new Copyblogger Weekly … also known (to me) as our Firehose Management Protocol.

The Weekly came from a message we heard from our subscribers:

I love you guys but … holy guacamole that’s a lot of emails.

And, as a person with Way Too Many Emails in my own overstuffed inbox, I feel your pain.

On Thursdays, we’ll be publishing this roundup of the week’s Copyblogger and Rainmaker FM content for you. You can use it to zero in on the content you most want to read or hear, so you don’t miss that one blog post or podcast that you really need this week.

If you subscribe to Copyblogger, The Weekly will arrive in your email inbox on Thursdays.

Clean, simple, manageable.

Email and belonging …

This week, I’m noticing two themes emerging. One is email … not just the Copyblogger Weekly, but the kickoff on Wednesday of Brian Clark’s new 10-part mini course on email. Given that Brian is … well, Brian, I’m excited for this one. Look for a combination of pragmatic tactics you can use right away mixed with Brian’s deep-drill insights into what makes email marketing really work.

The other theme is belonging … whether it’s called membership (Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur podcast episode with Stu McLaren), exclusivity (Sean Jackson’s Copyblogger post), or even tribalism.

Robert Cialdini, author of the insanely useful Persuasion, calls it Unity in his brand-new book Pre-Suasion. I’ve got it loaded on my Kindle to read on my flight today back to the States for our live event and workshop in Denver next week … and I can’t wait to see many of you there. :)

When asked if this was a new principle, Cialdini admitted it had been there all along — underlying all of the other persuasion principles at such a fundamental level that it was nearly invisible.

What does unity have to do with email?

Email marketing is oddly intimate. You’re sending your messages into someone’s daily routine. Their coffee break, their second breakfast, their two minutes of escape from that weird office mate who eats smelly food and won’t wear headphones.

The inbox is a private space … one that needs to be treated with respect and care. When you plaster spammy content or ads around the web, that’s annoying but expected. But when you shoot crummy, irrelevant messages into our inboxes … we get enraged homicidal mad.

Email should be for your community of belonging. Your peeps. The folks who believe what you believe, and value what you value.

Is it okay to sell in email? Absolutely. That’s what business is for … to sell products and services. That doesn’t need to be disrespectful or creepy … and if it is, you’re doing it wrong.

Enjoy the week’s content, and I’ll catch you next Thursday!


By the way, Pamela Wilson and I will talk more about the Hows and Whys of the Copyblogger Weekly in next week’s Copyblogger FM, which will air on Monday, October 10.

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

Surprising ways to make content creation efficientThe Efficient Approach to Marketing Your Business with Content

by Pamela Wilson

Why a barrier could grow your businessThe Secret Tactic All Successful Online Marketers Use

by Sean Jackson

Get More Clients With Smarter Email MarketingGet More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing

by Brian Clark

How to Find the Optimal Pricing for Your Membership SiteHow to Find the Optimal Pricing for Your Membership Site

by Sean Jackson

How to Sustain a Profitable Creative AgencyHow to Sustain a Profitable Creative Agency

by Brian Gardner & Lauren Mancke

3 Important Lessons About Sponsorships That Will Make You More Money3 Important Lessons About Sponsorships That Will Make You More Money

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor

How Jay Baer is Navigating New Waters with His Latest Digital ProductHow Jay Baer is Navigating New Waters With His Latest Digital Product

by Brian Clark & Jerod Morris

The Inner Makings of a Membership Site Launch, with Stu McLarenThe Inner Makings of a Membership Site Launch, with Stu McLaren

by Chris Ducker

The ‘Obligatory’ Structure of Effective ContentThe ‘Obligatory’ Structure of Effective Content

by Sonia Simone

Is the Novel Dead? Part TwoIs the Novel Dead? Part Two

by Kelton Reid

How to Build a Business that Sets You Free, with Sol OrwellHow to Build a Business that Sets You Free, with Sol Orwell

by Brian Clark


Master Class: Lead Prospects Straight to Your Goals with an Appealing User Experience

with Pamela Wilson and Mary Shaw

Friday, October 7

Join Pamela Wilson and user experience (UX) expert Mary Shaw as they talk about how to structure your website so site visitors will understand (and be enticed by) your offers. Discover how your site structure can funnel people directly to pages that help you meet your business goals.

Join Authority to attend this session

The post Email, Belonging, and the Compelling ‘New’ Element of Persuasion appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Link building outreach: preparation meets persuasion

Obtaining valuable, future-proof backlinks requires human interaction — and that means being prepared to offer something of value. Columnist Andrew Dennis shares his advice for putting together a successful link building outreach campaign.

The post Link building outreach: preparation meets…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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The Key Element of 21st Century Persuasion

The Key Element of 21st Century Persuasion

Back in the 1950s, a bedridden man faced certain death from inoperable, terminal cancer.

Tumors the size of oranges had invaded the man’s neck, groin, chest, and abdomen. The patient’s only hope was a new experimental cancer drug called Krebiozen.

Three days after the initial treatment, the man was out of bed and joking with his nurses. As treatment continued, his tumors shrunk by half.

Ten days later, he was discharged from the hospital … the cancer was gone.

That’s pretty amazing in itself. The more amazing thing is that Krebiozen didn’t actually work.

We’re back for the fall season of the New Rainmaker broadcast, this time looking into the unstoppable power of belief, and what it means for doing business in the 21st century.

In this episode you’ll discover …

  • The one human drive that can drive the future of your business
  • Why you need to pay close attention to the placebo effect
  • How the wine industry was enhanced by a better story, not better grapes
  • How to build the unwavering trust of your audience
  • The key to finding prospective customers who take action
  • Why research is where your marketing efforts are won or lost
  • Why you shouldn’t waste time convincing anyone of anything

Head over to New Rainmaker right now and listen to The Key Element of 21st Century Persuasion.

Want even more than this one episode?

We’ve just put together two weeks of training that will change the way you think about online marketing. It consists of seven foundational lessons (audio and text formats), three webinars (with transcripts), and follow-up lessons and case studies. And of course, it’s totally free for you. Register right now.

About the author

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

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Persuasion Optimization

There are many ways to optimize.

We optimize to align a site with search engine algorithms in order to gain higher rankings, which, in turn, leads to visitor traffic. Other forms of optimization occur after the visitor has landed on our pages.

One such optimization is called persuasion optimization.

After going to the effort of getting a visitor to land on our pages, the last thing we want them to do is to click back. We want them to read and act upon our messages.

There Are Many Ways To Persuade

Robert Cialdini, a Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, identified six categories into which persuasion techniques commonly fall: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.

We can use these techniques to optimize both our content and site design so that visitors are more likely to stay on our pages, and more likely to convert to desired action.

Whilst these techniques could be seen as being manipulative, it depends how they’re used. If used in good faith, they’re a natural part of the ritual involved in selling people on our point of view. On the other hand, being aware of these techniques makes them easy to spot if used against us!

1. Reciprocity

Reciprocity is when we give something to someone, and they return the favour. The act of reciprocity is so ingrained in our culture, it can occur whether the person asked for the favor or not, and whether the people involved previously knew each other, or not.

Reciprocity creates an obligation.

Examine your offer to see if you can give something of real value away. For example, some information product vendors give away large chunks of the product, or long trials. People may reciprocate by paying for the remaining sections or full product. They may have been less likely to do so if the vendor gave less value up front. Think about what you can do for your audience, rather than the other way around.

Another way of thinking about reciprocity is to provide a concession. If you concede something small, but do so early, the other party may feel obligated to concede something greater later on.

For example, ask for something significant. When this is turned down, ask for something moderate – the moderate request being what you wanted all along. The second request is more likely to be accepted as it appears you’ve already made a concession, so the other party feels obligated to do likewise.

2. Commitment and Consistency

People like people to be consistent.

People who lack consistency can be seen as untrustworthy or disorganized. If we’re consistent, it reduces complexity, because other people don’t have to re-evaluate us each time they need to make a decision about us. They merely need to remain consistent with their previous evaluation of us, and their previous decision. If we start acting differently, it forces a re-evaluation.

The same goes for websites.

Look for areas of your website where the messages may conflict. This could be as obvious as a mistake in the copy about the offer, or as subtle as a change in tone of voice. Each page should flow from one to the next in a consistent manner, using consistent tone and design, and the message should not contradict, or wander off on unexpected tangents.

There are exceptions of course. If you’re trying to shock people, or draw attention to something out of the ordinary, then playing against consistency can work. However, consistency would have to have been established first, before it’s possible to successfully play against it.

3. Social Proof

Does your site show evidence that other people find it valuable? Examples may include testimonials, reviews, and associations.

Social proof helps establish trust quickly by leveraging existing trust relationships. If someone trusts those associations you cite – say, “As seen in the New York Times” – or is merely inclined to trust the crowd over their own judgement, then the path of least resistance is to trust you, too.

Establishing trust quickly is critical online, because it’s easy for the user to click back, so social proof can be a very powerful technique.

It’s also easy to get wrong, as to can look contrived. People are most likely to be persuaded by social proof if the person or entity providing the proof is a known authority. Who does your audience already know and trust? Some sites make the mistake of using testimonials from non-entities.

4. Liking

People like to do business with those they like.

Attractive people, rightly or wrongly, can be persuasive, as others tend to assign them positive traits. At a base level, the use of physically attractive male and female models is a staple of the advertising industry. At a higher level, people respond to people who are like them. The attraction is based on similarity.

In terms of web marketing, your level of “likeability” will very much depend on the audience. A
site selling fashion is likely to be aspirational i.e. less like the actual audience, but exhibiting attractive traits to which the audience aspires. A site selling technical solutions will likely focus on familiarity and affinity. A site about weighty subjects will likely convey intellectualism. It’s all a way of mirroring the audience, either literally who they are or how they perceive they are, in order to be liked.

Another aspect of liking is association. Look at ways you can associate yourself with entities or people you visitors already like. Common tactics include aligning your site with a charity, celebrity or industry event.

5. Authority

People often respond to authority figures.

“Correct conduct” is a response to authority figures. For example, the “white hat/black hat” positioning in SEO is defined by an authority figure, in this case, the search engine and their representatives.

Authority on websites can be conveyed using symbols, qualifications and associations. However, these days, people tend to more cynical of authority than in times past. They will likely question authority by wanting to see evidence of claims made, and try to establish if the person telling them the information is trustworthy.

Does your site offer evidence and proof of your claims?

6. Scarcity

We tend to undervalue what is plentiful, and overvalue what is scarce.

An overt use of this tactic is to create artificial scarcity, particularly in the frauduct world. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen aggressive marketers claiming there are only so many places/products left, in an attempt to make you perceive scarcity, so you’re more inclined to act impulsively.

Cialdini notes:

“According to psychological reactance theory, people respond to the loss of freedom by wanting to have it more. This includes the freedom to have certain goods and services. As a motivator, psychological reactance is present throughout the great majority of a person’s life span. However, it is especially evident at a pair of ages: “the terrible twos” and the teenage years. Both of these periods are characterized by an emerging sense of individuality, which brings to prominence such issues as control, individual rights, and freedoms. People at these ages are especially sensitive to restrictions”.

People are most attracted to scarcity when they are newly scare i.e. they haven’t always been scarce, and secondly, when other people are competing for the same resources. In terms of a website, these two concepts could be combined. Time is both running out, and demand has been overwhelming. This is also a form of social proof, of course.


Seth Godin said “All Marketers Are Liars”

There are elements of manipulation and story-telling in marketing, and no doubt you can see these concepts in some of the worst examples of web marketing. But they also exist in some of the best. And no doubt we all use some of these techniques, possibly unknowingly, in our everyday lives.

These ideas can be very powerful when combined on a website. Try evaluating your competitors against each of the six categories. Have they used them well? Overused them? Then audit your own site, experiment and track changes.

A little effort spent on persuasion can go a long way to maximizing the value of the traffic you have already won.


SEO Book.com

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Marketing Ethics: Persuasion vs. Manipulation

Posted by Dr. Pete

The debate over “white hat” vs. “black hat” tactics in SEO seems to resurface every few months, followed soon after by a debate over whether those labels or the debate itself are even worth having. I thought it would be useful to step back a bit and look at the broader issues of ethics in marketing.

As marketers, our job is to persuade people, whether it’s to choose a certain product or buy it from a certain vendor. It’s not always clear, though, when persuasion becomes manipulation. I’m going to explore 5 scenarios in a white-board style format (read that: “crudely illustrated for your amusement”).

Scenario 1: Simple Alignment

The first scenario is what I’ll call “simple alignment” – the Customer wants X, your Client (employer, etc.) sells X, and you work to facilitate the process:

Illustration of Simple Alignment

The Customer is on one side of the wall, dreaming of a new car, and your client is on the other side, trying to sell that car. You (the green arrow) come in to bring the wall down. Alignment could just be the act of bringing Customer and Client together (like driving relevant traffic to a site). The end result is win-win.

Scenario 2: Simple Choice

In the “simple choice” scenario, the Customer wants either X or Y, but hasn’t made up their mind. So, you nudge them to make a choice that fits your objectives:

Illustration of Simple Choice

Is it unethical? On the one hand, the Customer wanted X or Y, so nudging them toward X is hardly a heinous crime. If you persuade them with features and benefits, this could be completely win-win. If you outright lie to drive them toward your Client, it’s a very different story.

Scenario 3: Competitive Choice

Scenarios (1) and (2) are based in an imaginary world where only one person actually sells anything. What if the Customer wants X, but your Client has a Competitor, and you steer the Customer toward buying from your Client?

Illustration of Competitive Choice

Obviously, the ethics of this situation can get complicated fast. Let’s say your Client makes 98% of their revenue selling pirated Justin Bieber CDs to al Qaeda, while their Competitor makes its money selling double-rainbows to puppies. I’d probably rather buy from your Competitor. On the other hand, as long as we’re not lying about our Client, the Competitor, or the products, this is still essentially an act of persuasion. The Customer wanted X and they ultimately bought X.

Scenario 4: Unknown Desire

Sometimes, Customers have no idea what they want – not in the sense of choosing between 2 or more options, but in the sense of not even knowing that an option exists:

Illustration of Unknown Desire

In some ways, this is the essence of much of modern marketing – it’s less about pushing us to choose from alternatives, and more about persuading us to want things we didn’t know existed. The iPhone is a great example – I didn’t know I wanted one until I tried it out. Until then, I had been suffering the delusion that my LG clamshell phone with no internet was all that I needed.

In all seriousness, this is a tough one. It’s the heart of modern consumerism, which many people would certainly say has gotten out of control. Is fulfilling an unknown desire inherently bad? No, of course not. Is manipulating people into wanting something by playing on their envy, fear, doubt, and uncertainty unethical? That’s a very different question.

Scenario 5: Altered Decision

Finally, what if we sell someone something they didn’t originally want at all? The Customer is looking for X and you convince them to buy Y:

Illustration of Altered Decision

In some cases, this may be like Scenario (4). The Customer thought they wanted the blue car until they saw it in red and loved it. In other cases, you may be aggressively pushing them to make a decision they later regret. Somewhere in between is the boundary between persuasion and manipulation.

It’s All About Intent

My point is simple – the ethics of marketing get complicated fast, and a lot of it boils down to intent. This is what makes Google’s job so hard – they can’t reach into our brains to see what we’re scheming, so they have to infer intent from action.

Take paid links, for example. Buying an ad to drive traffic to your site is perfectly acceptable to search engines. Buying an ad to build a juicy link back to your site and manipulate your ranking violates Google’s guidelines. If no one ever bought an ad just for SEO purposes, there would be no need to nofollow links. Since Google can’t judge our intent and paid links were abused, they have to assume that all paid links are suspect.

I’m not defending Google’s stance or claiming that Google’s guidelines are the same as ethical behavior. I’m simply saying that these situations are a lot grayer than we sometimes like to believe, especially when you consider the entirety of the internet.

Why Does It Matter?

So, why should this matter to you? Even if you’re not that concerned with ethical marketing, I think there’s something else at play here, and it directly affects your bottom line. Look at the 5 scenarios again:

  1. Simple Alignment
  2. Simple Choice
  3. Competitive Choice
  4. Unknown Desire
  5. Altered Decision

What’s the easiest type of sale to make? Usually, it’s going to be Scenario (1). You just need to help the Customer find your Client, or maybe you need to improve your CRO to bring down a few walls within your site. The Customer already wants what you’re selling.

On the other end, getting someone to completely change their mind may not just be unethical – it’s also extremely difficult. If you find yourself constantly having to change people’s minds, even to the point of manipulation, you may be targeting the wrong market.

It’s funny that Scenario (4) seems to be the current Holy Grail of marketing. Apple is the poster child for selling us things we didn’t even know we wanted. There are, admittedly, tremendous advantages – being the first to market means you get a great head-start and can put up barriers to entry. For most of us, though, it’s just not necessary or cost-effective. There may be plenty of Scenario (1) and (2) clients out there, and your money could be better spent finding them.

This post was inspired by a conversation with a UX colleague, Harry Brignull, and his work on what UX folks have come to call “Dark Patterns”. This post isn’t really about dark patterns, but it’s a pretty cool concept (and very cool name), so I’d encourage you to check it out. 

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