Is Persuasion an Art or a Science?
The answer: it’s both.
While persuasion is a valued skill in business that comes with a set of rules and even formulae – thus creating the science – there’s an art to applying it. In other words, mastering the science of persuasion produces the ability to treat this skill as an art. In this article, we will take a closer look at this dynamic.
What is Persuasive Marketing?
Persuasive marketing involves convincing an audience to buy into the concept behind a product or service. The methods to do so range from verbal, written, and visual materials or a combination of all three.
In advertising, persuasion is an art form that extends from print and televised commercials to social media posts and word-of-mouth marketing.
The psychology behind persuasion forms the core of marketing. There are even books, podcasts and academic modules dedicated to perfecting it. It’s a science that must constantly evolve with each emerging cycle of trends. As any business owner is aware, customer loyalty is hard-won.
A combination of good communication and providing consistent value for their money ties a customer-base to a company’s specific product. Persuading this group to remain true to one brand takes a great deal of research, often using scientific methods.
The Science of Persuasion in 3 Simple Stages:
A scientific background isn’t needed to research and measure your results. The concise nature of scientific processes makes them ideal to adapt to understand how persuasion works. For example, the science of persuasion in business marketing can be illustrated in three easy-to-understand steps:
- Identify What the Customer Is Looking For
A sharp business owner looks for gaps in the market to fill in that niche with their specialised product or service. A persuasive marketing strategy can then be adapted to highlight what the product brings to the table.
- Leverage the Product’s Value
The marketing material should highlight the product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is what elevates the product above its competitors. It conveys why consumers would be making the best choice when choosing to purchase it over the others. This can be based on how useful a product is, how uniquely it functions, or simply based on aesthetic appeal.
- Adapt According to Feedback
Business owners can gauge how well their product is being received by interacting with customers. They can also view negative feedback regarding either the product itself or its marketing and fix these issues. As a result, the marketing strategy evolves alongside a brand’s consumer-base and the trends of the accompanying era.
In each of these stages, numerous scientific methodologies are used to record and keep track of progress, as well as to make sense of the data. An understanding of how to read the data also requires a scientific, logical thought process.
However, the artistic approach to persuasion is closely intertwined in the last two stages. It’s also the most easily identifiable aspect of marketing.
The Art of Persuasion
Persuasive marketing encompasses many spoken, written and even wordless forms of artistic expression.
One form of persuasion in advertising is the slogan. Logo.com describes a persuasive slogan as one that, “convinces potential customers to give your product or service a try.”
Slogans employ a variety of literary devices, ranging from the isocolon (“Have a break. Have a KitKat.”) to the hyperbole (Carlsberg’s “Probably the best beer in the world.”). When matched with audio and visuals, this form of persuasion has proven to be effective at embedding a brand in the public consciousness.
Recently, wordless persuasion has become more common with social media influencers. A picture of a product posted by a popular Instagram account makes for a positive brand image. Not to mention, celebrities also play a key role in helping their fans decide what to buy, wear, and use.
Law of Reciprocity
Persuasion also goes beyond advertising and can be worked into the company’s customer retention strategy. Influence: The Art of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini, describes the ‘Law of Reciprocity’ in which a business grants a favour to a customer and in return, receives something from them. Products can be given away for free or at a discounted rate for a limited period, for which grateful customers offer their loyalty to the brand. Brands can also promote testimonials from satisfied customers, which bolsters their marketing strategy.
Persuasive marketing is a skill that is easy to understand in theory but requires time and dedication to master. With a solid understanding of persuasive marketing, business owners have a greater grasp of the market. This in turn provides more potential for growth.