Our mind largely works on a subconscious level. During every second of our waking day, it takes in and filters tremendous amounts of information. It needs to, otherwise, we would not get through the day unless it subconsciously took in information, spat it out and made assumptions on the back of it.
For example, when you scroll through Facebook or browse YouTube, you take it in, but you don’t necessarily understand the message or question whether it’s true. You’re on autopilot, and you subconsciously form beliefs and perceptions on everything!
Manipulation in marketing
Marketing was built on this fact. As a species, we are bred to attach ourselves to “bubbles”: hobbies, political beliefs, age/peer groups, interest, religion, etc.
The problem is, the stakes are higher these days. Anyone with access to the right algorithm can target, re-target and manipulate these bubbles of people. Online shops can manipulate you into buying certain products. The media can manipulate you into believing or not in a new agenda or campaign. Politicians can manipulate you into forming certain perceptions or prejudice.
You cannot escape this, and this not only impacts you as a person but as a business owner. Because as a business owner you can manipulate your audience every single day. The good news is you get to choose how you do it!
Ethical manipulation in marketing
If you own a business, manipulation in marketing is part of what you do. It’s the only way to create raving fans, sell them products and gain their trust. Manipulation is part of what you do, so the trick isn’t whether you do it or not, but how you do it.
The most successful entrepreneurs are conscious about how they use manipulation in marketing. Done right, manipulation in marketing is a good thing. But, like most good things, it can quickly turn sour in the wrong hands.
You have to believe in what you do and commit to becoming the best at it. Once you do, you have to know who this helps. You need to know your audience on a deep level, too. What is their biggest problem right now? What is the largest pain are they feeling? Are they avoiding this pain, and resisting taking action?
This is why manipulation in marketing is a good thing because it’s in our DNA to feel comfortable, to survive and avoid dangerous situations. So, we remain in our comfort zone and remain blind to the solutions we need.
Your job is to illuminate their pain, so they know they have it, to show them the solution, so they know what to do and to guide them, so they overcome their problem.
If you want to help your audience, you have to manipulate them; otherwise, they may never “figure it” out. But, there’s a right way to go about it and a wrong way, and the right way centers around:
- Relevance: Don’t sell to them; give huge value, be relevant and give them what they need.
- Omnipresence: Become “top of mind,” because they won’t “figure it out” overnight.
- Intimacy: Build their trust, be “real” with them and continue to help them with value.
Do this and you’ll ethically manipulate your audience into taking the action they need.