Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marketing or Manipulation? Your Beliefs Are Affecting Your Success

Marketing or Manipulation? Your Beliefs Are Affecting Your Success

People love to buy, but they hate to be sold. And yet, what do marketers really do, but attempt to encourage people to buy things. But is it manipulation? The Financial Samurai blog puts it this way:

Welcome to the world of capitalism, this is business and these techniques have been developed over decades. Some call it marketing and merchandising while others see it as manipulation.
Consumers have expressed disgust when company’s unnecessarily bundle products to force them into purchasing more than they need (think cable). We have all felt “taken” by a slick salesman that convinced us to buy something we didn’t really want or need. The nickel and dime games from some company’s have also caused much chagrin (what, we have to buy a plane ticket for our luggage now?)
Businesses have been developing these and many other techniques over decades and will continue to develop new, more targeted and more sophisticated strategies to separate you from your money. As they say, “the best defense is a good offense. ” Learning about how companies market their products and why these strategies work will help you evade their traps.

Being on the entrepreneurial/marketing side of the fence, I feel strongly that every business not only has a right - but an obligation - to market their products and services for two reasons: 

(1) You won't stay in business if you don't.

(2) And the more important reason - if your business serves the world in some way, you owe it to your customers and prospective customers to provide them the product or service they need, but they won't know about you unless you tell them. That's all marketing is.

Are there unscrupulous marketers? Of course. Do you have to be unscrupulous to succeed? Absolutely not. Although there will always be those who perceive all marketing as a means to convince people to do something they wouldn't otherwise do. Consider this quote from Vilhjalmur Stefansson:
What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.
Business owners sometimes get caught in this warped view of marketing, and we let it hold us back. I remember once hearing a Mary Kay rep - whose goal it was to have the first $1 million year in the company's history - say that she refused to watch commercials and hung up on sales callers (this was before the Do Not Call Registry was created). But how can you ever hope to have people buy from you if you're not willing to listen to others who are simply doing the same thing?

How do things change when you consider marketing as a means of presenting opportunities, rather than trying to talk someone into something? Remember that the most successful marketing in today's world begins with rapport and relationship. Think about the last product or service you bought, particularly from a smaller business or entrepreneur. Why did you buy from them? Did they hustle you and pressure you, or did they focus on relating to you first as a person, and figuring out how they could meet your needs?

Marketing or manipulation? Your own perspective will color your approach - and what you personally believe ultimately dictates your success.
Agree? Disagree? Share your opinions below!

This is Day 25 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!_______________________________________

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