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It’s not uncommon for business owners to manipulate target customers into buying their products or services. It becomes culture in more ways than one. A consumer’s mind can work subconsciously; they can absorb business information even if they don’t necessarily understand the message.
More and more customers are influenced by a predicted outcome (e.g. lifestyle) that blinds them from seeing the smoke and mirrors. Many entrepreneurs use manipulation as a marketing strategy. Unfortunately, ethics are not questioned enough.
In most cases we label things as scams, but there is a fine line between marketing, manipulation, ethics and effective marketing. Effective marketing should involve giving people free will to choose to buy your product or service without manipulation. it is Not Manipulation when your marketing goal is based on serving and satisfying the needs of your consumers. Anyway, it is manipulative if you only benefit from your plan at the expense of your consumers’ needs.
So the question is: are you in business to meet the needs of your customers or just to make money? As a business owner, adding value to your customers through your product or service should precede your profit.
Also see: 5 sneaky psychology tricks advertisers are using to get our business
The difference between marketing and manipulation
Marketing is a form of connection and communication. It uses tools to promote products by delivering messages to consumers to make them aware of your brand and your product or services.
Ethical marketing involves presenting your product as it is intended to be used and to whom it is intended. For example, if your service or course isn’t for everyone, don’t make it seem like it’s for everyone, or anyone can do it if you don’t have the stats to back it up. Business owners do not have to lie, intimidate consumers, present untrue facts, or exaggerate the quality of the product or service. Instead, your marketing should be based on facts, presentation and emotional arguments.
For example, many authors and service providers rely on misleading facts to sell their products. They use misleading, confusing or untrue claims to promote themselves or their products – thus playing on consumers’ emotions in misleading and deceptive ways. Unfortunately, because of their strong desire to improve the way they live, consumers are likely to accept incorrect information. This is manipulation.
Many online gurus, self-service vendors, or service companies sell products, books, or strategies that don’t work for everyone, but don’t disclose it. Instead, their advertising speculates on your emotions and is designed to promise or imply a connection between a product and happiness, social acceptance, friendship, etc.
Is cheating manipulation? Scamming is, to a large extent, manipulation. It is intentional manipulation aimed at getting someone to give up something in exchange for something bigger. So when customers pay huge sums of money in the promise of a benefit they don’t receive, the business owner has cheated and manipulated them.
Service-based business vs. self-sufficient business
Business owners can choose to operate as a service-based or self-based business. Owners of service-oriented companies trade their knowledge or skills for money; They focus on providing features that make life easier for others. So they market their business based on the needs of consumers.
On the other hand, an independent company is built with the core desire to make money. Self-employed entrepreneurs care less about the company’s results or the quality of their products. Instead, they focus on increasing their market share and profit margin.
To do this, they devote resources to analyzing what consumers are doing and how they are thinking. Your goal as an entrepreneur should be to solve a common problem for consumers, rather than chasing money. After all, a service-based company focuses on service, while a self-based company manipulates.
See Also: 3 Marketing Claims That Are Damaging Your Reputation
Is your marketing authentic?
Nowadays it is difficult to recognize brands that are authentic in their messages. Today there is forced buying of products and services due to clickbait, monopolies and emotional bait-and-switch tactics.
For example, many online gurus or self-publishers flood their followers or target audience with fake engagements, exaggerated earnings reports, bots, borrowed dishonest ads, etc. You see gurus selling deceptive strategies or courses to make quick money online or make millionaires will.
They lure you with false pictures, sly promises, “proof” of income reports and testimonies. Unfortunately, many vulnerable audiences believe these theories — many of whom do not question these reports or conduct due diligence research.
To build an enthusiastic following and brand, you need to leverage authenticity and build trust. Being authentic means presenting yourself and your brand from a place of sincerity and authenticity. You don’t have to invest in marketing gimmicks to reach your target audience.
There should be no discrepancies between your brand’s words and actions. Instead, know your target audience, their values, why they use your product or service, etc. Additionally, all communication with consumers must be honest and transparent. A brand that isn’t authentic, accountable, or transparent will never thrive in the long run.
Also see: How authentic marketing is key to building a loyal audience
Authentic marketing brings long-term success
Manipulative marketers are interested in short-term goals, not long-term ones. They hardly care about generating positive results or providing value to their consumers. As such, their influence tactics can be shady and manipulative, which becomes the norm and culture—so they don’t see the wrong thing.
As a business owner, don’t dwell on making profits anymore. Your goal should be to meet consumer needs and grow your brand. So use smart marketing strategies and make sure your products are delivering results for consumers. Also, check them out thoroughly to see if they’re a really good fit.
Entrepreneurs manipulate consumers when their interests and goals are not aligned with their desire to make money. Instead of thinking about your best interests, align your message with their values and be authentic enough to build genuine connections with them.