Manipulation in Marketing: How It’s Used, and How to Use It Ethically

Manipulation in Marketing: How It’s Used, and How to Use It Ethically

Done right, manipulation in marketing is a good thing. You're on autopilot, and you subconsciously form beliefs and perceptions on ... everything! Manipulation in marketing (and politics, the media, and everything else) Marketing was built on this fact. Political groups built momentum by targeting specific "bubbles" of people, and it grew from there as things that may or may not have been true were made to feel true. Because as a business owner you can -- and will -- manipulate your audience every single day. The good news is ... you get to choose how you do! Ethical manipulation in marketing If you own a business, manipulation in marketing is part of what you do. It's the only way to create raving fans, sell them products and gain their trust. Done right, manipulation in marketing is a good thing. This is why manipulation in marketing is a good thing, because it's in our DNA to feel comfortable; we are born to survive and avoid dangerous situations.

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Done right, manipulation in marketing is a good thing. But, like most good things, it can quickly turn sour in the wrong hands.

Manipulation in Marketing: How It's Used, and How to Use It Ethically

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Through modern retargeting, I can manipulate you into believing something you do not believe.

And when I say I can, I mean anyone can: the media, government, marketers, online business owners … anyone!

You see, your mind largely works on a subconscious level. During every second of your waking day, it takes in — and filters — tremendous amounts of information. It needs to. You would not get through the day unless it subconsciously took in information, spat it out and made assumptions on the back of it.

So, as you scroll through Facebook or browse YouTube, you don’t actually understand what’s going on. You take it in, but you don’t necessarily understand the message — or question whether it’s true. You’re on autopilot, and you subconsciously form beliefs and perceptions on … everything!

Manipulation in marketing (and politics, the media, and everything else)

Marketing was built on this fact. The reason Coca-Cola became the giant it is today is because it creates omnipresence through billboards, TV spots, newspaper ads, etc. The company knows if you see the brand enough, you’ll form attachments to it.

And it’s not the only one.

Just think about the 2016 U.S. election — the tactics used, and the conspiracies built on the back of it like “fake news.” Political groups built momentum by targeting specific “bubbles” of people, and it grew from there as things that may or may not have been true were made to feel true.

And as they say, perception is reality.

Again, this isn’t new. Companies, governments and religions have targeted “bubbles” like this throughout history. As a species, we’re bred to attach ourselves to such “bubbles”: hobbies, political beliefs, age/peer groups, interest, religion, etc.

The problem is, the stakes are higher these days. Anyone with access to the right algorithm (and if you have access to Google or Facebook, you have access to these algorithms) can target, re-target and manipulate these bubbles of people. Amazon can manipulate you into buying certain products. The media can manipulate you into believing (or…

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