This section of writing has been in the “All Posts” section in WordPress, a self-proclaimed place for blogs, so I think I am okay to think this is a blog post. Now, onto the content of this possible blog post!
Let’s face it, not everyone is going to believe in every claim in every advert, package, salesperson or whatever businesses use to communicate with consumers (Eden, Bear & Walker, 2008; Guo & Main, 2012; Keeling, McGoldrick & Beatty, 2009; Pornpitakpan, 2004). After years of being subjected to consumer-traps such as over-promises, fine printed nasties and manipulative salespeople, many consumers have growth wary of how businesses encourage trust and consumption of their products (Anderson, 1996; Helm, 2004; Muehling & Kolbe, 1997). What’s more, people have passed on knowledge and rumours alleging the wrongdoings of certain businesses (Richins, 1983). Words that may damage brand images and deter potential customers (Laczniak, DeCarlo & Ramaswami, 2001; Mahajan, Muller & Kerin, 1984). All this can make selling harder.
Amidst all of these, however, I sometimes see what appears to be blatant announcements, full of honesty. Proclamations that often ran along the lines of “This is an advert! I’m trying to get people to buy this product! Please, buy our product!” However, is admitting an intent to sell a good marketing strategy?
I often find these attempts of persuasion pretty refreshing and memory-worthy. This is a good feature to have, as novel persuasion attempts can have an advantage in the promotion world (Pieters, Warlop & Wedel, 2002). Novel adverts, packages, etc. can lead to benefits such as greater attention and positive ratings (Folkes & Matta, 2004; Pieters et al., 2002). Furthermore, it has been concluded that consumers are more easily persuaded by unusual sales methods than stereotypical ones (Guo & Main, 2012). Still, would these straightforward, self-acknowledged persuasion attempts remain effective when it becomes stereotypical from wider usage? Moreover, are there reasons why this tactic is so uncommon in the first place?
An advert on a t-shirt to sell the t-shirt this advert is on?
One argument against these types of promotion, I think, could be that people will become less likely to buy products when the sellers seem more focused on selling than on ensuring customer satisfaction (Folkes & Matta, 2004). People, in general, react negatively to persuasion attempts they believe to be lined with ulterior motives (DeCarlo, 2005). Meanwhile, these messages lay the “I am trying to sell things” aim out onto the open, revealing a high focus on selling. Hence, the “Hey, I want to sell you this” phrase can sound like an unwise thing to tell potential customers.
Furthermore, blatant attempts to make consumers do a certain thing, like buying a product, may trigger psychology reactance, where people go against the message in some way to prove and recover their power as independent people (Miller, Lane, Deatrick, Young & Potts, 2007). Therefore, these messages may encourage people to convince themselves out of purchases.
I knew you were trying to appeal to me using the front cover, Issue 58 of Volume 1 in the Tales of Suspense from Marvel Comics!
I would like to think that marketers can be straightforward, but this may not be an overly effective strategy… Unless, this method is uncommon, because many do not know how to use this candid tactic effectively. Reinhard, Messner and Sporer (2006) found that if the seller is attractive or likeable, admitting an intent to persuade may, in fact, be more advantageous than not admitting it. This was in contrast with the result from sellers perceived as unattractive or unlikeable, which were usually better when they do not admit a selling intent (Messner, Reinhard & Sporer, 2008; Reinhard et al., 2006). Why do attractive people have this benefit? Well, people often see attractive people as less selfish than unattractive people, which is probably part of the common (mis)association between good looks and a good personality (Langlois, Kalakanis, Rubenstein, Larson, Hallam & Smoot, 2000; Reinhard et al., 2006). Hence, consumers may believe that attractive people are persuading people out of concern for others, which is good for reducing the sense of sales orientation and increasing the perceived customer care Folkes and Matta (2004) found to contribute to sales success.
Rebecca Romijn trying convince you to drink milk
Another element to consider is the importance and costliness of the product (Petty & Cacioppo, 1979). Petty and Cacioppo (1979) found that openly admitting a selling intent reduces success rates if the product is important or expensive. Hence, it may be advisable to keep these straightforward claims for attractive or likeable people vouching for smaller and inexpensive products.
All in all, if you can sell effectively after announcing your aim to sell, it may be better that you admit it!
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