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Just Don't Try and Persuade Me

Tim Williams

As marketers, we like to think we’re experts in the art of persuasion. If I know enough about you as a customer: who you are, what makes you tick – it should be easy to craft a message that’ll get you to behave in the way I want.

This is the theory behind any data-led CRM strategy.

And it seems to work, at least with those customers who are already predisposed to our point of view and what we have to say.

But what if we need to change someone’s attitude about our product or brand? What if they’re not even thinking about us or our category at all?

Perhaps we’ve been getting it the wrong way around with this type of audience (who after all are in the majority).

Getting someone to change an opinion or attitude through reasoned argument is hard because that’s not the way the brain is wired. Whether you want to blame it on confirmation bias, the filter bubble, or sheer bloody-mindedness, rational human beings just don’t exist. 

But there is another way.

Rather than trying to get someone to act using a rational value proposition, why not try and change their mind just by getting them to act.

This doesn’t need to be a big deal. Whether it’s as simple as getting me to open an email, putting my empty bottles in recycling, or taking a test drive - just make it easier for me to do it than to do nothing.

It’s hard to change my behaviour by trying to influence the way I think, it’s easier to influence the way I think by changing my behaviour.

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