the ethical move

Could You Sell Without Manipulation?.

View from above of a cute brown puppy looking up
The Cute Factor // Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash

What I am about to say will not sit well with many online entrepreneurs.

I am well-versed in the language of manipulation.
  • I know which pair of jeans on a wall of seven will make the most sales.
  • I know what colour laundry detergent should be to create that ‘clean’ feeling.
  • I know exactly how wide an aisle in a clothing store should be (not too cramped) so you want to walk in to look at clothes, but not linger (not too wide) so you keep buying.
  • I know that spraying the right scent in a boutique entices people to buy.
  • I know that if you price your product at $297 instead of $300, you will make more sales.
  • I know that a cute puppy will make you more likely to click on an article.
There is a science behind how people buy and it has permeated everything we touch, to the point where we can’t tell anymore what is a conscious choice and what we are driven to do subconsciously. At the same time, buyers are told that if they make the right choices about what they buy, they are creating a more ethical and sustainable society.
Perpetuating sales tactics that are keeping buyers weak, and then placing the burden of ‘making a difference’ on them, is …the kind of thing a bully would do.

It’s time we realize that we — online entrepreneurs — are part of the problem.

Every time we use a psychological sales trick to get our ‘tribe’ to buy our package (for example creating 4 packages so people buy the 3rd) — we are perpetuating the cycle of consumerism. We are part of the problem that keeps poor people poor, natural disasters increasing, and refugees flooding the world. There is one reason alone that we are doing it this way. The reason is it works. It’s been proven through countless studies (google ‘psychological marketing tactics’ for reference). We have truly honed marketing to become an efficient, hyper-functional tool. Using these tactics feels like sitting in a grimy motel room with fluorescent lights — but it works.

And we don’t seem to have a way out.

We are all trapped in the same tiny room, vying for the little space at the top by crawling over top of each other, trying to reach the cash prize that’s supposedly dangling from the ceiling. The holy grail of ‘having made it.’ We are so convinced by staggering numbers and ‘proof,’ we would reject the door that leads out of the room. But tell me that you’re not tired of hearing the words ‘evergreen’ or ‘funnel’ or ‘targeting’. That you don’t think it feels more like a well oiled machine.. and not really human.

It’s like a robot spewing numbers.

Consumerism, the ‘preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods’ is really just an addiction. And we only ‘crave’ it because we were born into it. It permeates our thinking, our actions, our decisions, our core beliefs, it triggers our innermost fears; the ones that say “I won’t have enough.” So we follow the money path. We use the formulas. We fill the black hole of existential fear with information on how to generate ‘more’. The thing is, there is never an ‘enough’ that is going to plug the hole completely. And the further we go down the rabbit hole, the more we lose track of what’s really important.

So how can we break the cycle?

Actually start serving the world

Get out of the kiddie pool

Pick up the slack

Start thinking long term

And for dessert: Stop manipulating your people

We have no idea what’s possible without manipulation.

Consumers are so used to having to fight our tactics at every turn, it might be like a breath of fresh air to start with honesty.

If you want to become part of the conversation around ethics in marketing, join us at the ethical move & take the first pledge!

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