Common marketing manipulation

Common marketing manipulation increasing business

Common marketing manipulation might be financially useful for your business. Also, it might get some positive feelings for individuals whose good they did by buying the product.

Is it moral? No. Sadly, manipulative behaviour is everywhere around us.

Set up emotions

A good example is to present a product as a protective item, ideally with wording such as “make your family safe”.  It could be good for guns, cars, drugs, smash-proof window glass, sunscreen, … creating fear works well.

We all want to have some product NOW. What can support this lust more than a limited amount, or a time-limited offer, ideally with a limited affordable price?

Making a charitable gift makes us feel good. We are happy to help, isn’t it so? Before you will send money to a child without legs, verify that the child really exists. Otherwise, you are paying only for your own feeling.

Social status

Promoting a product as premium, exclusive or stylish to make your social status better than others. It’s a deal for overpriced products. Isn’t an iPhone a ‘must have’ thing? Wording like innovative, luxury or ‘like never before’ makes people believe that no other product is like that.

It’s good to answer the question: Do you need it or want it?

Inventing standards

This works for products in mass distribution. Everyone else has it, you have to have it too. Who wants to be an outsider?

Price manipulation

Frequently used is currency manipulation. As a very good example is and their tablet, a digital notebook, the reMarkable 2. Price is from 279 USD, or from 349 EUR (which is 384.34 USD). Don’t expect them to provide an easily accessible explanation as to ‘why’ on their website.

Adding “should have” subscription or accessory to some device or service is another tactic.

The superstar manipulation is SALE. Something costs 149 USD, let’s add a visually strikethrough price 249 USD

Buy 3, get 1 for free. A tactic for increasing total sales.

Fake reviews

Fake reviews like this one seems to be working well: “Hi, I’m Megan Anderson, age 67, Minnesota. I bought these 90pcs fish oil capsules from Dr. Harry Johnson for only 499 USD and it was the best deal in my life. My hair stopped falling out, red spots on my skin disappeared and I no longer have a hip pain. It really works perfectly!” When it is visually supported by portrait photo and dated ‘yesterday’, it looks really real.

Fake or misleading reviews are also commonly used because of affiliate programs. The reviewer is getting financial profit from each sale. Check more reviews, ideally from independent resources like online communities or discussion forums.

Promises and warranties

Free trial with limited options is promising to remove the limits, when you will pay a subscription. Obviously, it’s not a free trial.

A common promise is: It works! For how long? Check out the ingredients, expiry date, materials used.

Exaggerated claims and false comparisons are another manipulation, do some research.

Refund gives some security. If something goes wrong, you will return the item, or cancel the service. But after some days, or some use of the product the refund is not possible. Keep in mind to read the terms in the conditions no matter how boring that document may be!

Refund is usually not possible on digital goods!

Manipulation done over coding

This is a technical aspect. Websites are using some codes and/or scripts to add features.

If an e-shop has low sales, a good technique is to make popups: John L. just bought perfume, after eg 30 seconds, Jane M. just bought hair spray. Having a look at a successful e-shop is a good marketing strategy.

Frequently used are also fake timers. Only 4 hrs left! When you will clear browser’s cache and history, usually the timer will get reset to it’s original time limit. The ‘4hrs left!’ note will stay available for next few weeks or months.

Realtime appearing reviews. It looks like right now somebody posted new review. The reality is all (fake) reviews are written henceforward and are shown at some time interval. It depends how it is coded; reviews might appear randomly at random time.

We cannot forget about personal data using cookies (little files with data eg when did you last visit the website; how long you’ve spent time on the page; your IP address, etc.) and personal data such as your name; email address; and re-selling this data to other companies.

Using AI

It will be more difficult than ever to discover fraud in the very near future. AI is used for generating images, videos, text content. Don’t believe everything you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears. Trust only yourself.

Stay responsible and vigilant

That’s how you won’t get manipulated without financial loss. Out there are much more manipulative tactics.

Sometimes we feel down and we want to give ourselves some reward; that’s the moment when manipulation tactics work, for sure.