Persuasion and Manipulation in Marketing
Some people say that all marketers are liars, all marketing is deception, and that all persuasion is manipulation. As a marketer, their job is to persuade people, whether it is buying a good or a service. Although, it is not always clear when the persuasion turns into manipulation, and if is it possible to sell effectively without walking into those gray areas of persuasion and manipulation.
I would have to say that the clear difference between the two is, intent. A marketer with a good intent would chose a different technique than someone with a bad intent. They would most likely go with a more ethical technique than the other also. So how do you know when, as a marketer, you are persuading or manipulating your consumer?
If your product is exactly what the consumer needs than all you need to do is to help them see that as clearly as possible. Help them recognize that it is your product that will fulfill their needs; Show them the benefits of it that they may not have known beforehand; etc. “Persuasive advertisements are thus the instruments used by advertisers who have defined their target audiences and determined the effect they hope to achieve through persuasive…ads [advertisements] in the media" (Bolen 1984: 9). For instance, if a prospect is looking at a car. They may not know for sure exactly which one they want but may have an idea. That is when the marketer/ salesman comes in and gives them that little nudge (persuasion) they need to finalize a decision.
On the other hand, if you are selling a product and coloring it into something that it is not so that it IS what the consumer may want or need is a whole different story. Manipulating and changing a product just for another sell is a huge ethical issue that we see today in ads and commercials. Including false claims, fake testimonials, and describing a lifestyle that you have gained from the product that is truly unrelated. So really in the end you are...