Nowadays, the everyday life of an average person is full of advertisements and persuading statements. It seems that every company, organization or institution is trying to influence the consciousness and emotions of a person in order to make the person make the right choice, which implies buying a certain product, voting for a certain candidate or being invited to a certain event. Choices are everywhere. The studies on the marketing strategies, advertising and impact of persuasion on these issues have been studied for many years. Some scientists declare their efficiency and try to improve them, while others state that it is dangerous for individuals and may not be efficient. It has been a rather debated and researched issue. The main purpose of this research paper is to prove that persuasion in commerce in considerably efficient and demonstrates the effectiveness of particular strategies and techniques by using various examples.
The impact of the persuasive methods is considered extremely useful in many aspects of everyday life, besides the advertising. These methods have been researched and examined since ancient times. However, social psychologists began to formally research these powerful techniques only in the twentieth century. The primary aim of persuasion is to convince a person in the need to incorporate the persuasive statement and adopt it as an element of their basic belief system. The effective and successful functioning of democratic political systems and market economies completely depends on the beliefs of the community. Consumers require getting the full range of information about the product, its characteristics and alternatives before buying it. Before investing their funds, investors demand the full information about the projects, business plans and risks in order to evaluate the perspectives. Voters are trying to collect as much information as possible about all the candidates and their policies before voting for one of them. Consequently, some beliefs are obtained through personal observations, while the majority of information, on which the commerce, political and financial decisions are grounded, is delivered by agents, who are interested in profits. The result of any deal depends on the agent’s way of communication, persuasive skills, visual/video/ audio aids, used strategies and techniques.
Advertisements can be seen everywhere, including TV, radio, billboards and internet. People are involuntarily engaged in the world of advertising. The successful world companies and organizations spend over four billion dollars every year on advertizing alone. This sum includes about 60 billion dollars invested by the companies on the ads especially for children. The motives of this decision are clear. For instance, the more children see toys on TV, the more often they ask their parents to buy this or that toy. According to the statistical data collected by Victor Strasburger, a well-known American pediatrician, an average American child annually watches nearly forty thousands of commercial ads. Only four hours of TV programs contain nearly a hundred of commercial advertisements. The companies attempt to persuade adults to buy this or that toy or candy using pledging of their children. This persuasive technique is very efficient. It is so because according to the statistics provided by Sandra Calvert, the Professor of Psychology and the Head of the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University, the amount of goods for children is increased year by year along with increase of the amount of money spent on advertisement. Professor Calvert explains that all these marketing strategies make children younger than eight especially vulnerable because they lack the cognitive skills to understand the persuasive intent of television and online advertisements. The new stealth techniques can also undermine the consumer defenses even of older children and adolescents.
She also pays special attention to the fact that a great range of food products, which are extensively advertized to children on TV, contains high levels of harmful sugar and fats lacking nutrition. However, a poor parent has nothing to do but to buy this or that candy or fast food for the crying children. Thus, the solution to this problem is very simple. It is necessary to limit the child’s watching of the TV. In today’s sphere of commerce, children are considered to be the main targets of intense marketing pressure aimed at making parents spend more money. This technique of persuasion in commerce is in blossom nowadays because of the fast-moving life and the increased accessibility of media and internet sources. The companies use more and more innovative methods of attracting the attention of children. Among them, the promotional toys, related to a particular commercial product, are widely spread. In supermarkets, the products intended for the children are located at the level of their sight.
Considering the mentioned above facts, one may state clearly that the persuasion used concerning the influence of children on their parents is very efficient, and this technique is still developing, while new strategies in this direction are elaborated. For instance, there has recently appeared a so-called stealth marketing technique. It presupposes embedding new products in the content of video games, films or cartoons in order to attract the attention of the community to the new product without a vivid advertisement. One of the noticeable examples of applying this technique in the advertising is the campaign of Sony Ericson Company. They were advertizing the new model of a mobile phone. The staff journalist of The Wall Street Journal Suzanne Vranica described this advertisement campaign and indicated its unordinary nature. The company hired sixty actors, who were to travel to the most frequently visited countries of the world and ask people to make photos of them standing near the tourist attractions with the help of a mobile phone Sony Ericson T68i, which can function as a digital camera. Involuntary, hundreds of ordinary people have taken part in this hidden advertisement and paid attention to the new product. Upon the beginning of the campaign, the rate of these phones sales highly increased. This means that the advertising campaign was successful and the stealth marketing technique proved to be efficient.
In the world of sales and commerce, there are always raised various questions. These include the questions of what is the best selling technique and how to persuade a person to buy certain brand. According to the Christopher Carpenter’s meta-analysis of 42 studies of effectiveness of the But You Are Free persuasive techniques in advertising, the high efficiency was proved after conducting a survey involving more than twenty thousand people. It is agreed to be one of the simplest and most available persuasive techniques that brings great results. This approach indicates that the most important goal is to reaffirm people that they are free to buy or not to buy a certain product and to assure them that it is their own decision. By giving a person a right to choose the seller, the company takes off the issue of threatening and gives a customer the right to choose by just saying that the customers are not obliged to buy this or that product or some other phrases carrying the same cognitive meaning. Then, under the influence of the seller’s arguments, the customer thinks that it is his independent and well-thought decision to make a deal and persuade himself that it is a right decision. When using these techniques, an important factor is meeting with a customer, while in other instances, like those involving making phone calls or sending emails, this approach loses its efficiency. The proved effectiveness of this technique demonstrates the important psychological component of a person’s character such as the fact that people are eager to make decisions by themselves without any outside influence.
This problem was carefully studied by a famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, Daniel Kahneman. In his best seller in business Thinking, Fast and Slow, he describes in detail the process of decision-making stating the psychological point of view and emphasizing the factors that may have an impact on the person’s decision, in particular the pressure from the side of other people.
An interesting fact was proposed by Marzoli and Tommasi, scientists of the Department of Biomedical Science in Italy. They declared that it would be more efficient to talk to a person’s right ear than to the left if one wants them to perceive the information better and provide the grounds for a good deal. They conducted a fascinating experiment. In the night club, they asked dancing people for a cigarette. Almost all people, who were asked into the right ear, were eager to give a cigarette. If you propose a person some deal using the right ear, he/she is more likely to agree. This right ear priority exists as language is preferentially utilized by the left side of the human brain that gets its input from the right ear. Thus, the efficiency of this method of persuasion has been proved medically and many sellers use it with much success.
It is commonly known that the use of persuasion used in advertising is efficient in changing the attitudes and opinions. The companies engaged in sales use the studied issue carefully in order to develop a range of new techniques and improve the existent ones for the sake of increasing their profits. The persuasion will be effective and bring good results if a sales person is familiar with the main persuasion strategies, which are used worldwide. These strategies are deeply studied and described by the professor of psychology of Arizona University, Robert Cialdini. He described them in his famous work The Psychology Influence of Persuasion. He proposed several strong persuasive techniques, which are constantly used by professional sellers. One of them is the technique of Liking. Cialdini says: “We most prefer to say yes to people we know and like”. It is a psychological peculiarity of human character. People like being called by their names and hear compliments repeatedly. People also like things, which are beautiful and more familiar to them. An example of this technique may be presented through the examination of the company’s website. Considerable attention is paid to the page About us. For instance, the regular organization under the title PetRelocation.com is assisting pets’ owners to transport them from one country to another. The section About Us on their website states that the customer may find a great amount of information about the skilled team of professionals, who are inspired by the deep love and devotion to animals. This fact is underlined in the biography of each worker. The efficiency of the technique may also be observed in the supermarkets, where in the department of clothes, for instance, the consultant at the very beginning of the conversation tries to flatter the customer, calling him/her by name and imitating his/her behavior, voice etc. These tricky methods often help to persuade a customer to make a deal and are considered to be considerably efficient.
The second persuasive advertising technique proposed by professor Cialidini is closely related to the Liking technique. It is a reciprocity technique. It presupposes the sales person to show and even feel a strong feeling of affection for the customer, adoration, etc. If the sale person shows respect for the customer, he/she will get it in return. If he/she shows a real interest, he/she will get the same in return. This contact has to be established at the first sight of the customer, before making any requests or propositions. A smile is quite enough for a start. Thus, the efficiency of these techniques would be diminished owing the exaggerated friendliness or adoration expressed to the customer.
The third evidently efficient technique proposed by Cialidini and widely used all over the world is the scarcity technique. When people think that some product is in short supply, they buy more of it. The scarcity technique presupposes that the products look more attractive and thus customers are more willing to buy them in case they suppose that their availability is limited. This method of persuasion is extremely wide-spread in advertising of any product. If a customer sees that there are few products left on the shelf in the supermarket, he/she would involuntarily consider that he/she is in dire need of this product. The same situation happens to people seeing queues or making special deals especially if they are limited in time. Scott Armstrong in his book Persuasive Advertisement provided an example of this method. The sales person put a blurb on the coats, which nobody wanted to buy, without changing its actual cost, saying that this special offer with such discount price will expire in a day. It instantly attracted the attention of customers and was successfully sold. The reason this method is always efficient is that the majority of people are programmed into considering that anything with a restricted supply would probably be more precious than a product that has a sufficient supply and is easily accessible. This creates a sense of instant importance of this or that product and calls forth people to act without hesitation.
Persuasiveness and efficiency are closely interdependent and interconnected in the sphere of commerce. When combining various intents with ads, the main purpose remains the same. That is to persuade the potential customer to think, act or feel in a certain way correspondingly to the brand of the company. The emotional and rational motives of the customer have to be taken into account while choosing the persuasion technique before making any deal. In most cases the emotional part of it plays the main role and has greater impact. The skilled marketing specialists know that the efficient advertisement often depends on the deep market examination in order to apprehend the customers’ tick to focus on as well as merits, risks and information content necessary for making the customers purchase the product. A significant factor in the advertising process is to underline the advantages, which would be most appealing to the target audience. This should be done considering the emotional influence it may carry.
The careful study on the use of emotional aspects was carried out by Neil Kokemuller, an experienced marketing specialist, Master of Business Administration. In his article under the title Characteristics of an Effective or Persuasive Advertisement (Small Business) he pointed out the expedient and significant aspects of using persuasion for commercial purposes. He stated that the ads would be efficient if they created a clear and at the same time subtle image in the customer’s mind. That is to say, the main message of the product has to be in of the utmost priority, being short and vivid. While describing any product, it is very important to name benefits and advantages of it in the first place, and if demanded by the customer, give a list of risks and disadvantages at the end of the message. When promoting any type of product or event, it is of great importance to create a memorable mage in the head of the customer. In order to close the deal, the sales person has to make the customer feel, for instance, the smell of perfumes, making a range of associations, or hear subtle music and feel the atmosphere of the audience, if the target product is a ticket to a concert.
This method has to be an inevitable part of the purchasing process, and the deal should be closed instantly, while the customer is emotionally inclined and eager to purchase this or that thing. Thus, if the deal is not closed at the moment of the customer’s emotional weakness, the moment of agony, the longer considerations and sense of reality may stop him from purchasing. These methods are widely used in the sphere of tourism. The tourist manager creates a picturesque imagery of the country the customer wants to go to. The small details are very important here. The tourist manager describes in detail the fresh air from the sea, the clear blue color of the water in the water pool, warm sand and cooling cocktails served 24 hours a day. Such impression makes the customer ready to buy one of the most expensive tours in order to feel the described experience in real life. This is a power of persuasion used in the sphere of advertising and sales. In case the sales person is well-trained and acquainted with all necessary methods and strategies, there would be no problems with persuading the potential customer to close the deal.
The efficient and persuasive advertisement can be delivered in several ways. The large companies try to invest much money in the marketing programs and allocate their ads on TV and radio, in the printed media, etc. The way the advertisement is allocated is also a rather important aspect that has to be taken into consideration. It first of all depends on the target audience. The content of the message has to be comprised of the correct and not complicated words that will stay in the mind of potential consumers. Indeed, every person, at least once in his/her life, memorizes the simple and easy to remember slogan of the particular brand. It proves that the sounds, melody, tone, colors and even size of letters are very important for delivering efficient persuasive advertisements. All the components of the ad have to be interrelated and correspond to each other to have a clear and correct impact on customers.
Some people consider the use of persuasive methods for efficient commercial deals a law breaking and harmful method for citizens. This point of view appeared after the emergence of aggressive marketing strategies. Some organizations attempted to use hypnosis and other prohibited means to incline customers towards making a deal. Nowadays, it is strictly controlled by the government and the number of such organizations is reduced annually. On the contrary, persuasive strategies and methods are also used for positive and harmless purposes. They are applied to incline people to making donations to charity organizations, volunteer in programs for donating blood. The advertisements created with the use of the persuasive methods are used even for the governmental purposes. For instance, to encourage people to lead a healthy way of life in order to prevent various diseases, protect the environment and natural resources, or volunteer in the hospitals or shelters.
The persuasion is rather efficient in the commercial sphere. There is a great range of persuasive strategies and methods that are able to make the any deal efficient. Nowadays, the advertisements and persuasive statements surround people everywhere. Thus, it is considerably expedient to be familiar with the main aspects of persuasive techniques in everyday life not only in the commercial sphere. It also helps to communicate successfully and build a comfortable environment for achieving success in life.