6 principles of persuasive marketing: how to influence people

From your flying reporter at DMF13, live from the keynote room. Today is the heyday for digital marketing in Belgium with DMF13 well on its way. Crossing the bridge between commercial showcasing and bringing fresh content to marketing professionals, this congress/fair always attracts a large audience of inspiration-hungry advertisers and networking-eager agencies. This year is not an exception with over 3500 attendees.

The first keynote of the day was brought by Martial Graslin of Smartfocus. Martial actually shared his vision on how to do effective online communication today. He especially elaborated on how to offer your prospect a real-time personalized experience. Most of his story is actually based on prof. Robert Cialdini‘s work in Persuasive Marketing and his recent book ‘Influence’.

Prof. Cialdini studies the art of convincing and, according to his work, influence is based on 6 powerful principles:

  1. Reciprocity: give something to get something. Give your client something that makes him feel lucky. If a waiter gives you a candy together with a bill, you’ll probably tip him. If he gives you the same bill and the same candy, but adds ‘And this is for you, because you were such a cool client’, the tip will be way bigger.
  2. Authority: buying something means trusting someone. Human beings, hence consumers, follow credible leaders. If a person called Peter tries to sell you an apartment, you will be less inclined to buy it from him than if he was introduced to you as a real estate professional with 22 years of experience in selling and buying apartments.
  3. Social proof: people tend to do what other people do. Instead of telling them what to do in a certain situation, it is easier to get someone to change his/her behavior by telling him/her what other people did in similar situations.
  4. Commitment: selling by involving. Make people feel they are part of your community. If people have a say in what the brand, product or service brings to the market, people will buy you more. Start small with this, you’ll see that once you get commitment from consumers, you can snowball your marketing actions. Commitment is the basis of a loyal relationship.
  5. Liking: we tend to buy more from people who like us. We are narcissistic beings who easily buy from people who complement and appreciate us. Of course, the main question here is the authenticity: how can you authentically, naturally and believably thank and be grateful to your consumer? Try inviting them to an online closed community for example and ask their opinion and feedback on what you are doing.
  6. Scarcity: people love to buy things other people cannot buy. We tend to rush for things that are rarely available. So the question here is: ‘How do I make my product look and feel rare and scarce?’. A powerful example is the Concord example: The day British Airways announced one round trip a day from London to New York instead of 2, sales actually went up spectacularly. So fewer flights at a higher cost resulted in a huge sales increase.

Martial then went on explaining how you can use these principles in online communication. Some concrete tactics he mentioned (among others) revolved around scarcity: show 6 products or less at a time on your site, as well as social proof: share star ratings or reviews as much as you can…

Martial Graslin at DMF

Next up is Jo Caudron (Dear Media), here at DMF2013. He just opened his speech by asking ‘Are you ready for 2020?’; clearly he is all geared up to share his future-proof thoughts on digital transformation.

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