News and Insights

Marketing and the Art of Pre-Suasion

Susan Tyson, Director of Brand Marketing
July 26, 2019

In his book, “Pre-Suasion,” social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a curious light on the art of effective persuasion, revealing that the secret doesn’t lie in the message, but in the key moment before that message is delivered. Cialdini, explains how to capitalize on that essential window of time before you deliver an important message – the “privileged moment for change” that prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. As Cialdini says, “optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion”.

In other words, to change minds a pre-suader also must change “states of mind.” This method of thinking is be one of the most important marketing ideas to gain traction in 2019. The beauty of this creative version of storytelling – successfully mastered by the likes of Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell and Laura Hillenbrand – rests in its ability to unravel a mystery. It starts by positing a question, then taking the reader on a journey, exploring all of the possible explanations until it finally reveals the answer. In the future, more marketers will follow this methodology to tell their brand stories, case studies and narratives.

Today, marketers want to accelerate their success in areas like content marketing, marketing automation, customer engagement and social analytics, just to name a few. As for the goals and strategies they will focus on next year, marketers will more likely follow the game plan that involves engaging and growing their communities, along with closely analyzing customer patterns throughout their brand journeys.

“The imperative in 2019 for marketers will continue to be customer experience,” says Wilson Raj, global director of customer intelligence for analytics leader SAS. “Winning at customer experience requires a combination of individualized insights, contextualized interactions, and fluid processes to engage the customer in their channels of choice.” 

Raj says there will be two prevailing themes dominating this quest. First, machine learning will be more mainstream in marketing Technology. “Marketers will be smarter; predictive systems will improve over time; they will learn from previous events/interactions; adapt to changing conditions and new data; and optimize to improve marketing goals,” he says. Second, data privacy will be elevated to a customer experience priority rather than a governance issue. As consumers browse the web, post to social media sites, share data from mobile devices or shop online, they are intentionally – and sometimes unknowingly – giving away digital information about their identities. “As digital opportunities and threats become critical to business strategy,” Raj says, “boards and C-level executives must have the digital expertise to balance between protecting the business and enabling profitable digital growth through personalized brank experiences. Marketers who can best paint such pictures and create such personal narratives are well on the way to establishing long-term brand loyalty.”

Other trends to watch include:

Know Thy Customer

In the race to know anything and everything about today’s ever-sophisticated consumer, Mike Sciortino believes that focusing on creating the client experience will be a major asset for any marketer. The founder of Gratitude Marketing and bestselling author of “Gratitude Marketing: How You Can Create Clients for Life,” Sciortino says companies that become memorable work hard to master the art of consistent, creative, fun engagement and deliberate, emotional connection with their customers. Sciortino says that knowing and creating the experience begins with asking the following questions:

Do I have a systematic approach to consistently communicate with my top customers and prospects? What are the most effective ways I am using to reach my customers today?

Do I have a carefully crafted and specific plan in motion to position myself to be the thought leader in my industry, marketplace and community resulting in me staying relevant and “top of mind” with my customers and prospects for when their need for my services arises?

Which of the marketing strategies that I’ve tried to improve my business worked, and which ones didn’t work? To create the ultimate customer experience be prepared to listen, and listen to be prepared. Train your staff to listen intently to what customers are saying in the day-to-day operation of your business. Customers who feel like they are being listened to feel accepted and appreciated.

Keep Thy Customer

With the rising costs of customer acquisition, brands will place greater emphasis on nurturing what Sciortino calls the 3 R’s: 1) increased customer retention, 2) increased customer referrals (one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing), and 3) increased customer revenues (per customer). Customers want to be regularly reminded that they are important to you,” he says. It’s not up to your customers to remember you. It’s your job to constantly and consistently remind them of who you are and reinforce why they have a relationship with you.”

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