The Best Kept Secret In Marketing, from Career of Gold Pages 201-205

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by Don Bracken

There is a subject that most writers do not touch on for whatever reason. Perhaps it is because the information could be used the wrong way as it has been throughout the ages. Some few have realized the truth of it, acted on it for their own benefit, often to the detriment of many others.

Today that secret is used by some in the corporate world for the purpose of manipulation so too by some people pursuing power in the world of politics.

Not all to be sure, but some.

I will share this with you since you are most likely at an age where your sense of judgment is good and your use of this information would be used in a positive way.

I will preface what I am about to say with a little self-assessment. I have organizational skills, I am trusting and early in my life I had political ambitions. OK. Enough said on that.

Forty years ago from this writing when I was a youth of thirty, I coordinated a few political campaigns for office holders and seekers in one of the major parties. County and Congressional stuff.

One of the earliest things I studied were voting patterns. I learned that in any given area you could count on a certain number of votes. No matter what kind of candidate you put up, Attila the Hun reincarnated, he could get that number of votes.

While doing the campaign for reelection of a congressman, I sought to get him the nomination of a third party. Since my childhood, this particular third party had been a fixture in my state, was well known and had a cachet that attracted individuals who projected an image of the thinking intellectual.

Two individuals seemed to head the third party so I made an appointment to meet with them to discuss the nomination. Perhaps, if we got that, we might get some financial support as well. This was before primaries were used to select candidates.

They were open to the possibility. They would give serious consideration to it.

“What about your convention to select? When will that be held?” I enquired.

They hemmed and hawed. There would be no convention.

“Well, how do your committee men select a candidate?”

There were no committee men or committee women.

The fact was there was no money either.

There was no functioning party. Just an image, an illusion.

The meeting for their purpose was to get some financing from us, to be perceived as players, to be able to stay on the ballot and to get exposure in the press. And if we were successful, some political leverage.

I had some difficulty adjusting to this new reality because my perception since childhood was that the party was a bona fide force in the state.

As reality started to set in, we agreed to finance a big rally for our candidate under their banner. It was summertime. We would make it a big outdoor affair for their people and they would send out word to their people.

As the affair began, no one had come. The words sent out to their people had apparently not arrived. The party was becoming a non-event.

We hurriedly gathered our committee people, campaign volunteers and any one else who wanted free beer, pizza and hot dogs to assemble for a few pictures. The press was fortunately late, took a few pictures when they arrived, and left. We were not totally embarrassed.

The story here is that the third party that attracted the intellectual thinker was hollow. There was nothing there but a cachet that attracted those voters to cast their ballot for our candidate on their ticket rather than our ticket which was more representative of the candidate’s beliefs. When the intellectual thinkers voted that party they were casting their vote for an illusion, a man who didn’t share all the beliefs that they typically held.

If Donald Duck had been nominated and dressed in a beret and a rumpled sweater, he would have gotten the same number of votes.

People will respond to allusion, we’ve all fallen victim to it, but that is not the secret.

The marketing secret is that people will fall for illusion and other techniques of deception because they don’t think. Very few people do because it is easier to get by without thinking. It is much easier to follow along than to step out and lead.

Clearly the “intellectual thinkers” were not thinking when they cast their votes forty years from this writing.

They were acting, as we all do from time to time, in a manner learned from childhood, a manner based on learning rather than thinking.

Psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Power of Persuasion maintains that only five percent of people think. This might appear to contrast with Pareto Law which maintains the 80-20 principle that we looked at earlier. But it may not.

It is my experience that the twenty per cent individuals do so for a variety of reasons. Some produce moderately or at least fairly well on a consistent basis. They are regimented and do the same thing that works for them consistently. It is the few though who consistently lead the pack in production. They have figured out a way or ways to break the charts. They are the true thinkers. Perhaps Cialdini’s five percent holds up. At least it is approximate.

Now, thinking is not learning. They are two different processes. Because we humans learn very well we are the primary species on the planet.

But what we do with what we learn is something else. And now we are getting to the nub of the secret.

According to New Scientist Magazine, April 1, 2006, a study indicates that we humans learn by imitating at an early age. We humans have a massive amount of stuff to learn and children need to learn quickly. Imitating parents and others accomplishes that. It provides the child with a ready made solution to the learning problem.

And it doesn’t end with childhood. It carries on.

Think for a moment about your own life. You are probably what you are because your parents started you doing what they did. Your religion, your politics, your cultural tastes to name a few things. You have accepted from authorities.

And there you have it. The acceptance from authorities you know.

We act on that acceptance, accept it as true, and rarely do we question it. It’s in our sub-conscious.

Now start thinking. How has that been used in politics, say in Germany? How is it used in business, in advertisements in the U.S.? How is it being used in Europe?

Now how will you use it?

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