Marketing Distillations

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Distillations of books on marketing.

'Made to Stick'

Core message

Commander's Intent

'Influence' by Robert Cialdini

Contains tactics that could be used unscrupulously and defenses against them. OSE's goal is not to compel people through deceit that would otherwise not want to help but to facilitate people that do want to help. Knowledge and awareness of these tactics helps in defending against them being used deceitfully. Written by Robert B. Cialdini, Regents' Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. The book contains detailed citied references of real world examples, scientific studies, and facts for all information.

Chapter 1 - Weapons of Influence

  • People have almost automatic behavior sequences that can be triggered by a single feature of relevant information in a situation.
  • Much of the compliance process is from people's automatic shortcut responding. Most people have a predefined set of trigger conditions to decide when they want to comply.

Example ad:
Unsightly crabgrass can be conquered - but only with the help of concerned citizens like you. Your generous contribution makes research possible to reach our goal of a crabgrass free world. Please join us and make your donation payable to the Society for the Prevention of Crabgrass. A return envelope has been provided for your convenience!

Yes, I want to further the Society's efforts for a crabgrass-free world.

Enclosed is my contribution in the amount of:

$25 $10 $5 $15 $_____

Chapter 2 - Reciprocation

  • The reciprocation rule is wide spread in human cultures. It requires that people try to repay what another person has provided. People are trained from childhood that failure to abide the rule could result in social disapproval.
  • Influencers give something before asking for a return. It is extremely powerful, even to uninvited first favors, and can spur unequal exchanges to be rid of the uncomfortable feeling of indebtedness.

use the technique

  • Influencers make an initial concession, which stimulates a return concession. Increases likelihood of the person saying yes, and in following up.
  • Accept favors, but be ready to define them as tricks if they are proved as such, so you feel no need to respond.

Chapter 3 - Consistency

  • People desire to be consistent in their words, beliefs, attitudes, and deeds.
  • Initial commitments make people more willing to agree to their prior commitment. Commitments are most effective when they are active, public, effortful, and uncoerced.
  • People try to justify their erronerous commitments to themselves because of consistency.
  • To resist manipulation, realize that you are pushed by commitments to perform requests you don't want to perform. Explain to a requester that you don't want to engage in foolish consistency. Ask yourself if you would make the same commitment again and evaluate.
Example ad:
Christmas is a boom time for toy manufacturers, but then a slump for months after as the consumers have spent all of their toy budget. To keep the consumers consuming they run ads for special toys before christmas to get kids to make their parents commit to getting the special toy. Then they undersupply the special toys so the parents make a concession and substitute other toys of equal value, which the toy companies supply plenty. After christmas the companies run the ads for the special toys again to remind the kids, which makes them want the special toy even more. The kids then get the parents to live up to their commitment to get the toy and spend more after they've already spent their toy budget at christmas.

Chapter 4 - Social Proof

  • People believe or act how they see other people believing or acting. Imitation is a powerful weapon used against both children and adults. Compliance can be stimulated by informing the person that many others (more the better) are complying.
  • When people are unsure about what to do they are more likely to be influenced by the actions of others and accept those actions as correct. People are more inclined to follow the lead of similar others. For example: Suicide statistics/demographics analysis are powerful evidence of this, people are more likely to suicide if they hear of someone similar to them suiciding.
  • Defense is to be sensitive of whether what other people are doing is from being manipulated or is from them being fully aware of their actions. The actions of others should not be the sole basis for your decisions.

Chapter 5 - Liking

  • People prefer to say yes to those they know and like. Professionals increase effectiveness by increasing attractiveness and likability. Attractiveness extends positive perceptions to other traits like talent, kindness, and intelligence. Attractive people are more persuasive in changing others attitudes.
  • Familiarity through repeated contact facilitates liking. Especially when contact happens in positive circumstances. Cooperation works especially well. Liking increases when connected to a positive thing. Liking decreases when associated with unfavorable things.
  • Reducing influence requires sensitivity to undue liking. Separate the requester from the offer and make decisions based only on the merits.

Chapter 6 - Authority

  • In the Milgram studies it was demonstrated that most normal psychologically healthy people would effectively obey an authority's order to torture and murder an innocent person contrary to their own preferences. The strength of this tendency comes from systematic socialization practices designed to instill in people the perception that obedience to authority constitutes correct conduct. Most people respond to authority in a mindless, automatic fashion, and even respond to only the symbols of authority rather than the substance. The symbols that invoke authority are titles, clothing, and automobiles. People who obey authority underestimate the effect of authority on their obedient behaviors.
  • To defend: Question authority. Ignore symbols of authority and look for evidence. Never assume that an authority is truthful or knowledgeable. Be alert to the trust enhancing tactic in which communicators first provide some mildly damaging information about themselves, which creates a perception of honesty that makes all subsequent information seem more credible to observers.

Chapter 7 - Scarcity

  • People assign more value to things that are viewed as less available.
  • The more difficult to attain is typically more valuable. Availability is used as a shortcut to quality. As things become less accessible people want them more than before.
  • Emerging individuality is is more sensitive to loss of control, rights, and freedom. Especially for "the terrible twos" and teenagers.
  • Limiting access to information makes people want it more and become more favorable to it. Information is more effective if perceived as exclusive information.
  • Items are heightened in value when they are newly scarce. People value things that are newly scarce more than things that were already scarce. People are most attracted to scarce resources when they compete.
  • Be alert to a rush of arousal involving scarcity. Assess the merits in terms of why.

Chapter 8 - Instant Influence

  • Shortcut approaches are usually made on the basis of a single piece of information. The most reliable triggers are commitments, reciprocation, compliant behavior, feelings of liking, authority, and scarcity information.
  • The use of triggers is not necessarily exploitive, only when triggers are not natural, fabricated.

See Also