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In the field of marketing, particularly internet marketing, there is a phrase often used: "people buy on emotion and rationalize their decision with logic". I have taken many courses and read dozens of such books, and some variation of this theory is usualy given as the motivation behind a buying decision.

I think there is a misunderstanding here, as I think there is a rational basis as to why marketing techniques work (while on the surface, they may seem to appeal to emotion).

As I market products online, I am very familiar with techniques that certainly generate sales. For example the "6 key principles of influence" by Robert Cialdini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cialdini):

-social proof (provide testimonials of happy customers) -commitment and consistency (ask for something small, and then gradually increase the requests) -reciprocity (give away a free sample) -scarcity (the price will go up in 5 days) -authority (show your credentials, or those of a well known figure) -liking (demonstrate that you are similar to the person target market)

Sometimes these techniques are used by con-men (such as the fake celebrity endorsements, or the fake price rise tactic), but is there also a rational basis behind them?

Rather than mindlessly reacting on emotion, it is my belief that rational people are persuaded by such techniques as they offer shortcuts in thinking time/ shortcuts to "knowledge", and valid reasons (when true).

So, what is the rational reason for the success of such marketing techniques?

asked Feb 27 '13 at 11:06

hector's gravatar image


Sometime people don't understand why someone does something and chalk it up to that person being irrational. This question may be too complex for a simple answer.

(Mar 12 '13 at 21:05) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

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Asked: Feb 27 '13 at 11:06

Seen: 963 times

Last updated: Mar 12 '13 at 21:05