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Ehitcal Manipulation in Marketing: How to use manipulation for good

(Panel discussion moderated by me at Marketing Conference, Dubai. In case of any queries, reach me at

In Darwinism’s language, brands are units of selection. Brands thrive in free markets because brands serve many, many other purposes.

While driving brands, the most successful entrepreneurs I know are conscious of how they use marketing manipulation. They don't feel guilty about doing it, and neither should you. If done correctly, it will have a positive impact on your audience.

Many entrepreneurs use manipulation as a marketing strategy. Unfortunately, ethics need to be questioned more, and there is a fine line between manipulation, ethics, and effective marketing.

There are several ways to use manipulation and consumer psychology to ethically, legally, and respectfully attract and engage your customers. One of the tips is to add ethical manipulation and influence to your campaign strategy, e.g., it’s crucial to position your brand in the ideal place for your customers to take action, as well as reposition your competitors in the customer’s mind. You want your brand to immediately spring to mind when the customer thinks of a problem, and you want it to be the first choice among the competition.

B2B customers, in particular, are highly informed today. Salespeople should therefore think and act in a demand-oriented way. The basis for this is customer and sales data. They show how customers currently feel about the company and what future sales opportunities there might be. Hard selling and manipulation in sales have no place here.

But there are many advantages of Manipulation. It's the only way to create raving fans, sell them products, and gain their trust.

Different manipulation tactics marketers use, consumer behavior, purchase desire creation, literature reviews, analysis, and interpretations. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is no optimal manipulation tactic that works under all circumstances. All discussed manipulation tactics could work and work optimally in the right place. Often, it is seen that a company uses more than one manipulation tactic.

Although the manipulation tactics all work correctly, they should always be balanced and used in the right place.

The boomerang effect teaches us how the consumer or businesses will react, which results in the opposite of the requested results.

Marketers should understand that more prospects, especially the conscious ones, recognize that all things are connected.

Therefore, they must be in the process of becoming conscious of the impact of selling and other tactics and pursuing the mutual benefits of it. Marketers should be aware that whatever tactics they use to influence consumers must be authentic.

All communication with consumers should be the most honest and transparent.

But yes, If you want to help your audience, you have to manipulate them; otherwise, they may never "figure it" out. But there's a right way to go about it and a wrong way, and the right way centers around:

Relevance: Don't sell to them; give colossal value. Be relevant and give them what they need.

Omnipresence: Become "top of mind" because they won't "figure it out" overnight.

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