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Persuasion marketing: Cialdini's 7 principles

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If you are going to launch an advertising campaign, the most important thing you have to take care of is, without a doubt, the message, knowing how to communicate is essential in marketing, if you want to launch an advertising message about a product, it is important that potential customers get what you want to transmit. The message is everything because it can mean that users do not understand why they should buy and what benefits the product or service of our company is going to bring them.

what is persuasion?

Let's start this post by defining the concept of persuasion before relating it to marketing itself.

Persuasion is the ability of people to convince others to act or think in a certain way, all this through a series of reasons or arguments.

There is a branch of psychology that is the branch of persuasion, which studies human behaviour, specifically the reasons that make a person change their behaviour due to an influence that is external to them.

When people communicate with each other we are almost always using some persuasive element, we are always trying to persuade, such as when we are giving our opinion about something.

Persuasion in marketing

In marketing and sales, cognitive biases are used as a persuasion tool that is of great help in different strategies, there are beliefs that people have that, even if unconsciously, influence us when making a decision.

can we say then that advertising manipulates us? This is very important because there is a big difference between the term persuade and the term manipulate, and we can often confuse them.

When a company engages in persuasion, it is offering the customer something that it knows they need, trying to convince them that the best thing to do is to buy this product and satisfy their needs.

On the other hand, if a company engages in manipulation, what it is doing is deceiving or hiding some kind of information from potential customers in order to get them to buy something that they do not need or that is not exactly what they are looking for for the sole purpose of personal gain.

Persuasion in marketing is basically making a product or service as attractive as possible in the eyes of the customer. Persuasion in sales is something more advanced, it is about actively listening to the customer, see what problems they have and argue how your product or service can solve those problems to convince them and close the sale. As we said at the beginning of this post, the most important thing is the message, but not only the information you are providing to convince them that your product is the best to solve their problems or meet their needs, it is also very important the way you are communicating with them. The way you speak is one of the elements that most influence people's decisions, pronunciation or accentuation can affect persuasion even more than the data you are providing to your customer.

Cialdini's 7 principles of persuasion

To begin with, let's talk about Cialdini, a well-known American psychologist and writer who has dedicated his career to the study of influence and the psychology of persuasion. His studies and contributions are considered to be among the most relevant in the field.

Our brain does not process all the information that reaches it when making a decision, but there are certain signs that help it make that decision, Cialdini calls them "shortcuts" and refers to them as those that guide human behaviour. At first, Cialdini articulated his theory in 6 basic principles, but in time he added a seventh principle. Let's see all of them and explain them.

  1. Reciprocity

    When a friend does something for you or does you a favour, don't you feel indebted to him and want to do something for him soon to be, so to speak, at peace? It is something completely normal, something that characterises all human societies.

    In the context of an obligation, people are much more willing to say yes to those to whom they feel they owe a debt.

    For example, if you had to go to a certain place and a friend of yours offers to accompany you, if in the future that same friend asks you to accompany him somewhere, you will be more willing to say yes because you feel indebted to him than if you are asked by a friend who has not done you any favours.

    There are even studies that have calculated the amount of tip that customers left depending on whether or not the restaurant gave them a gift or the behaviour of the waiter towards them. The tip increased according to the amount or value of the gift or the kindness of the waiter.

  2. Shortage

    If a customer perceives that a product is in short supply, he will increase the demand for it; if he perceives that a product is in short supply or difficult to obtain, he will rush the purchase. This principle explains the 'limited time' or 'while stocks last' strategies. It also explains why Nestlé Jungly chocolate sold out so quickly.

  3. Authority
    If the explanations that are given to persuade the customer are supported by an important or reference person, the value of that persuasion is greatly enhanced. This is why it is important to position oneself as an authority on the subject in order to influence a person. This is why a blog is such a decisive element in building that authority.

  4. Commitment and consistency
    Appearing convincing to your potential clients will give you a very powerful influence in the social sphere; any person will be much more predisposed to accept a proposal if it corresponds with the commitments and previous statements that the company has declared to the person to whom it is offering its products or services. This means that if we are coherent with our own behaviour, we will be convincing.

  5. Empathy
    It is much easier to create a bond of sympathy if there is an attraction with the other person, which means that it is easier to be influenced by someone we like than by someone we dislike. If I have confidence in the person who is persuading me to buy a product, I will buy it.

  6. Social approval
    There is a theory, called the spiral of silence, which basically consists in the fact that people are influenced by the behaviour of the masses, that is, if we are in a public place and we see that everyone stands up, we will probably stand up. In marketing it is the same, we accept what the majority accepts, if a product is well liked by the majority, it is easier to buy it than if the product is indifferent to the majority or is not well liked. This factor is very powerful, so try to include in your campaigns social communications that prove that the majority likes your product.

  7. Unity
    This is the new principle that Cialdini included some time later, it is a principle closely related to empathy. In this principle we talk about shared unity, i.e. perceiving people as part of a "we". This helps us to identify ourselves as part of a group.

These principles apply to all types of business, they make it much easier for you to reach your customers, as they are the shortcuts that all human beings use.

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