Persuasion… or manipulation?

Last week's email about selling cures vs. prevention prompted a perceptive question from subscriber Frank:

At what point does either strategy, whether negative or positive or some mix in between, become manipulation?

This question is at the heart of why most people hate “marketing.”

There's a common belief that marketing is all about using sneaky psychological tricks to levitate money out of people's wallets in exchange for products they don't really want or need.

People really resent the idea that shadowy marketers are sitting behind the scenes, pulling all their emotional strings.

And when you dig into the teachings of great copywriters, you hear a lot of themes that reinforce that idea:

“People buy on emotion, and justify the purchase with logic.”

“Facts tell, stories sell.”

“Agitate the pain and frustration that your audience is feeling.”

Is all of this advice really about persuasion—or is it bald-faced manipulation?

It's not just a question of semantics.

To be continued…