Check out the following lines. It’s from a sales page by people I like and respect, but I do want to call out some outdated, manipulative ideas:
(I’ve bolded some words and phrases that I’ll discuss in this post.)
Don’t go looking for who wrote this or what program is being sold, because this type of language is rampant in my industry. I’m quite sure I myself have used such language in the past. I didn’t know that there was a better way.
Over the years, I’ve become sensitized to marketing manipulation and hopefully, by reading this post, you’ll also gain more conscious control over your purchasing choices, as well as your own marketing.
Commonly used in marketing to create FOMO, the word “secret” makes us feel like we want to be on the inside, so we don’t miss an advantage we could have over others… advantages that could bring us long-term security or fulfill our dreams.
This is why I no longer use this word. I believe there are no “secrets” to learn, only ideas that resonate with deep truth you already believe. If there was some new tactics, it can be found for free with enough Googling.
“Instant trust and desire”
The language of seduction and manipulation. “Trust” should never be produced “instantly”. Trust is earned from repeated trustworthy interactions.
And to instantly produce “desire” in our potential clients is to see them as pavlovian dogs that just need the right meat to make them salivate and do our bidding.
Intuitive hits are supposed to come from a higher spiritual source. Here, we’re led to believe that we could create marketing that will make the audience feel as if a higher source has recommended that they should buy our thing. A spiritual idea, corrupted for the sake of power and money.
We “need” oxygen, water, nutrients, and shelter. We “need” social acceptance and interaction. We don’t “need” to buy anything or to work with anyone. To say that we can create marketing that makes potential clients feel they need to work with us is playing with mind control.
Yes, of course it’s profitable. And that’s the biggest problem.
Over the past decade I’ve noticed this word cropping up in many marketing programs. We’re taught to create “irresistible offers”… which means our marketing should override our potential clients’ free will and make them buy from us, without a second thought.
Is that how you want marketers to treat you?
If you believe in the Golden Rule, then let’s be careful not to do this unto others…
Again, I believe that these are good people who are using such words and phrases. Years ago I used them too, because I didn’t know of any better way.
We fall into this kind of manipulation when we temporarily lose touch with a deep trust that we will be taken care of… and when we forget that above our sales and numbers, we are called first and foremost to grow through our efforts to genuinely serve the people we’re blessed to have the attention of.
To me, to truly serve people means to respect their agency, to allow them to make genuinely educated free will choices.
We have to be careful not to try to make sales “so that” we can finally serve people. That’s the fallacy of the ends justifying the means. In actuality, there’s only means, there’s only how we do things. We are called to work with honesty and love.
Once we become aware of this dynamic, this kind of manipulation, I hope we will make the choice to stop. I hope we will instead take on more humility in our marketing and to describe our product/service simply, whom it’s meant for, and what the typical buyer might expect from using it.
And then? To trust, and observe. To notice what offerings, simply described, are of greatest interest to our audience — and to also notice which offers don’t have market interest, so that we can plan our business efforts accordingly.
Manipulative marketing isn’t enjoyable by neither the marketer nor the audience. Those of us who use it simply don’t understand that there is a more fulfilling way that gets more effective the more we use it: authentic marketing.
Is there other marketing manipulation you’ve noticed? I’d love for you to add to this conversation, so that we can all become more conscious. May we make better choices that bolster our integrity, develop trustworthy relationships, and allow us to work with deep fulfillment.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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