Marketing Is About Emotional Manipulation – But What If You Didn’t Manipulate?

Most people would view themselves as fairly acceptable, if not always perfect, at managing their emotions. In other words, while we may see a sad advertisement for a charity on television, we might feel relatively bad for the subject depicted, but we’ll still go about our day and attend to our daily lives, without having to retire to bed and never get out. This is an oversimplification of course, and is a little insensitive (being emotionally vulnerable does not make you weak), but it’s a general truth we tend to live with.

However, you don’t have to be weak to be manipulated. Manipulation, especially in terms of our emotions, is about a third party convincing us to behave in a certain way based on our motivations and desires. For example, a beautiful fragrance ad plays on our need to feel desired, appealing, attractive even. This plays on the emotion of love and desire, or even mystery and curiosity. 

But what if you could market your business with emotions yet without manipulating them to your own ends? What would that look like? Does it always have to be about suggesting your customer is lacking, and that you have the solution? In this post, we’ll discuss what that might look like:

Focus On Authentic Storytelling

Everyone can relate to a good story. Sometimes, that’s all you need to motivate and encourage emotions. For example, if you’re a small business that has grown from a humble startup, or if you decided to grow your business after a job loss, a difficult life event, or simply having the courage to make good on an idea you had, this can be a great means of marketing. Relate to people, let them know your origins, and don’t be afraid of them. You may be surprised just how many people can relate to you and take inspiration from your story, and how print business cards can help start that conversation.

Highlight Genuine Customer Testimonials

Sometimes, all you need is for other people to vouch for you. Let’s say you’re meeting someone for the first time. If they start by telling you how great they are, and how much worse your life would be without their presence, would you appreciate that? What if they did none of this, but a trusted friend referred to them as highly reliable, funny, exciting, and good to have around? Well this shows the discrepancy between more traditional and more modern marketing methods. So, highlighting good testimonials you get, or even honest critical ones, shows you’re not afraid to be present in the market and to let others voice for you appropriately.

Promote Ethical Practices

Sometimes, individuals just want to feel as though their money is being put to good use, as opposed to solely lining your pockets. That may sound strange of course, surely a business should have no shame about generating revenue? Well, yes that’s true, but it’s also good to emphasize your values and show that money in your pocket is better than in the accounts of a major international corporation. For example, most people feel better about buying food from a local cafe than they do McDonalds. For this reason, you can also sweeten the deal by promoting ethical practices, such as your commitment to sustainability, reinvestment in the community, or avoiding toxic industries like fast fashion. This way, you don’t have to generate emotions in your audience, you simply show them that you care about the same things they do.

With this advice, you’ll market using emotions, but without any manipulation.

Isa Lillo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top