The Six Pillars of Persuasion: B2B Marketing Applications in the Digital Age

Hate to call it what it is as we might, marketing is the profession of persuasion. While some are born salesmen, convincing you to buy ten things you don’t need and donate ten things you can’t afford to lose before you realize, others may need a little more prepping to do so.

Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., a professor and national bestselling author of what many recognize to be the bible of marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, has six tactics that achieve “a distinct kind of automatic, mindless compliance from people, that is, a willingness to say yes without thinking first.”

These six “weapons of influence” make up the perfect formula for a well-rounded marketing approach to reaching any business’s prospective customers/clients. Below is an application example for each, sure to drive optimal marketing results in today’s growingly digital age of business-to-business relations.

  1. Commitment and Consistency — A consistent level of commitment to customer success and satisfaction with your business, especially as the industry shifts its services and associated relational expectations from offline to online, is vital for retention purposes.What are some ways to do this? Bridge the gap left by that regular in-person interaction no longer being had with a CRM system that has a holistic set of insights into the customer’s needs. Also instill an intuitive digital marketing program that hits them with what they want, custom to the customer’s specific, changing needs.
  2. Reciprocation — Want help in getting the word out around your business’s current initiatives? So does everyone else. Help yourselves by first helping them, and karma will work its way back around– follow and retweet/repost companies, individual professionals and clients in your own network. The rule of reciprocity will work in your favor to amplify your own voice and reach as a company in return.
  3. Social Proof — Evidence that the phrase, “well everyone else is doing it,” is very effective in its nature. Being able to prove that a trend is growing in the direction that points to the need for your business or services goes far in influencing your target prospects to then convert them into leads.A great tactic for marketers to achieve this effect is to conduct a data study where they survey businesses or consumers to prove the value in their business model. This can then be marketed on the web to prospects that have either visited your company’s website before with PPC (pay-per-click) remarketing ads or pushed out onto target websites where you know your prospects frequently visit, such as target trade publications.
  4. Authority — Show them you know what you are talking about and that you are the expert of all industry experts to be trusted in your field. In posing your company’s executives as thought leaders, both in the space your business practices, and in the specific roles they hold– the most forward-thinking CIO across the industries– your company can quickly elevate its credibility.
  5. Liking — Being well-liked, or at least well-received, really does go a long way. This is why the businesses that have the most personality are a favorite by the majority. And since being well-liked translates to being more naturally trusted, demonstrating an attractive personality is a characteristic a business will want to aspire to.How can this be accomplished, one will ask? B2B firms will want to skip the mascot, but have a distinct brand with an aesthetically pleasing logo, clean, user-friendly website, an approachable executive suite, and a charismatic voice that is used consistently across all channels.
  6. Scarcity — The idea of “available for a limited time,” is a common marketing tactic for a reason. The fear of missing out, FOMO if you will, is real– especially when it comes to missing out on opportunity to grow your business. So as B2B firms market their products or services to other businesses, it is smart for them to emphasize that if these other businesses don’t act now, the window of opportunity will close for them to benefit as fully as their competitors.In retail, for example, there is this quiet, time-sensitive race to win over more customers of the pot as an increasing number of retailers see the value of investing in retail technology that better serves their customers–especially those who shop online. The ones who realize this faster will be the ones that best succeed in doing so.

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Friday Five: 2/1 – 2/5

Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:

Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths to Test Underwater Data Center –  New York Times

Researchers at Microsoft just tested a prototype of a self-contained data center that will enable computer storage hundreds of feet below sea level. Their hope is that this new technology will eliminate the need for air conditioning, one of the industry’s most expensive problems. The effort, code-named “Project Natick,” will help meet growing energy demands in the technology sector while placing data centers closer to users and preventing delay. Microsoft currently manages more than 100 data centers and hopes that this suspended technology will use the ocean current to generate electricity.

JPMorgan Moves Forward with Blockchain Technology –  Business Finance News

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is entering a partnership with Digital Asset Holdings that could reduce the cost and complexity of trading. This trial project reveals that Blockchain, which is best known as a database for the digital currency Bitcoin, will have wide-ranging application for some of the largest banks on Wall Street.

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Friday Five: 1/26 – 1/29


Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:

Spotify Ready to Introduce Video Product – The Wall Street Journal

Swedish music-streaming service Spotify introduced its video product to customers this week. The company had originally announced it would be distributing video and podcasts back in May, partnering with a number of recognizable names including ESPN, BBC, Vice Media and Comedy Central. Spotify, which is currently valued at $8.5 billion, hopes to compete with the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat in the increasingly crowded realm of Web video.

Facebook is finally bringing live streaming to everyone – Mashable

Facebook announced Thursday it’s bolstering its live streaming capabilities for iOS users in the U.S. The social network giant’s new live streaming feature is called “Live,” and function similarly to Periscope broadcasts. Users have the option to a person or Page’s “Live” feed to receive a notification every time there’s an update. The company announced it’s hoping to bring the update to Android users soon.

Snapchat lets you add friends with a link, at last – Engadget

And in more social media news, messaging platform Snapchat is finally letting users add friends with a URL. This means that if you wanted to add, say, Walker Sands to your Snapchat feed, you could simply follow a link like this: (Disclaimer: We’re not actually on Snapchat.) Previously, the primary method of connecting friends on the app was through a QR code, which many considered to be a mark against its user interface.

Amazon Sales Soared 22% in Holiday Quarter, but Profit Fell Short – The New York Times

Amazon’s fourth quarter sales lagged a bit more than expected despite more optimistic predictions for the holiday shopping season. The Seattle-based company reported Thursday that profits weren’t nearly as rosy as initially forecasted. The announcement is indicative of a much larger trend: both traditional and e-commerce retailers — including stalwarts like Walmart, Macy’s and eBay — have seen sales dip and business slow down.

Coke Could Lead the Way to More Product-Focused Ads – Ad Age

Coca-Cola is paving the way for more product-focused advertising in the food and beverage industry by replacing its now-familiar “Open Happiness” slogan with a new campaign called “Taste the Feeling.” The major strategic shift marks a return to the basics for marketers: customers want to hear more about how products taste, look and feel. The new campaign will also encompass all Coca-Cola sub-brands, including Diet Coke and Coke Zero, establishing a united front for the brand.
Read anything that caught your eye this week? Give us a shoutout on Twitter @WalkerSands.

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Friday Five: 1/18 – 1/22

Google’s WiFi for Indian Train Stations Launches At Mumbai Central Railway Station Tomorrow – TechCrunch

Google’s WiFi for Indian train stations is set to launch today. At this moment, it only provides WiFi at the station and not on the train. Initially, the partnership aims to provide access points at 100 train stations across India, with plans to grow to 400 stations nationwide. As the Mumbai Central Railway Station alone supports 962 individual trains on a typical day and the city’s commuter rail services transport around 7 million people daily, the support this system requires is substantial. As it spreads to more stations and rail subnetworks nationwide, it will be interesting to see if Google can continue to support the speeds and connectivity that is currently promised.

Uber’s Standalone Food Delivery App Is Coming To The U.S.– TechCrunch 

Uber’s stand-alone food delivery app is coming to the States! Good news for us: Chicago is one of the first cities it will debut in. This means we can now get our food delivered by Uber (if it’s from their partnering restaurants). They’ve been testing this particular feature in Toronto for a little over a month now, and currently offer lunchtime requests along with Uber’s standard app in the U.S.

How can PR pros make a reporter’s job easier? – PR Daily 

For PR folks: how can we make journos’ lives easier? Although it seems like we work in tandem and help them out every day, being a reporter has also been recognized as one of the most stressful, lowest paying jobs. Also keeping in mind that they get an abundance of pitches every day, it’s beneficial for PR pros to understand what works for them. Some tips include keeping it brief and getting directly to the point, providing sources up front, providing data, visuals and being considerate of their deadlines. All things most of us probably do, but good to keep in mind as our work collides so much.

As digital marketing grows, Google to launch real-time ads – PR Daily 

Google has unveiled a real-time ad platform. As online advertising grows in usage, Google is attempting to make it easier for marketers to jump on trends as they happen. The new ad platform will enable brand managers to connect with consumers in real time. As crazy as it sounds, the platform would gives marketers the opportunity to distribute content that aligns with trending topics immediately after they go viral.

Earth’s oceans may contain more plastic than fish by 2050, study says – Mashable

According to this Mashable article, findings from a newly released Ellen MacArthur Foundation report show that by 2050 the world’s oceans will contain more discarded plastic than fish when measured by weight. As plastic is necessary in some cases, the problem is that most plastic packaging products are used only once before they are thrown away, which accumulates to an annual economic loss of up to $120 billion. Unfortunately, our plastic abundance will catch up to us if we don’t find new and innovative ways to reuse and recycle, especially with plastic.

See anything interesting in the news this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands!

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What’s more effective in online video: text or dialogue?

Jim Clinton, PhD & Joe Magliano, PhD

In an effort to bring academic findings into the business world, we’ve been reaching out to researchers across the country to share how their areas of expertise affect the PR & digital marketing world. Today, Jim Clinton, PhD and Joe Magliano, PhD of Northern Illinois University share thoughts on visual media.

Whether it’s a 15-second pre-roll ad on YouTube or a 90-second explainer video, marketing professionals all face the challenge of striking the delicate balance between presenting text and/or dialogue alongside images in online video. The goal is to engage the viewer and hope that they will remember the content of the ad and act on it. So when is it justifiable and worth the investment to recruit voice actors to speak scripted dialog in lieu of the more cost-effective means of showing text on the screen?

This blog explores this issue from the perspective of cognitive psychology—an area of psychology that researches how people experience, remember, and generally make sense of the world around them. This area of research has much to say about this issue.

Walter Dill Scott (1869-1955) was one of the first psychologists to apply psychological principles of persuasion to advertising.  He showed that using direct commands in language (e.g., “buy this product”) affects consumer behavior. These commands are particularly effective when accompanied by images, but only when it is easy to understand and process the language and its relation to the image.  Right now, you may have a strong desire to “Get Duffed!”


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