Marketing – manipulation or client attraction?

Client attractionReading different articles and talking to people, I have come across quite often the paradigm that marketing equals manipulation. Along the lines of – if you want to get people to buy your products or services you have to persuade them. I have never felt comfortable with that thought – for me marketing is a vehicle of client attraction not persuasion.

Actually, I see a lot of problems with thinking that you need to manipulate people to buy your products – for me it says that your products or services are not valuable. If this is the case – why have them at all, why not change them and add value? Also why would manipulation be somehow an industry standard? The thought pattern being that if you want to be good at marketing you need to learn to lie or at least – ’dress up the truth’. Yet, these must be the thoughts that lots of people have about marketing. I have heard multiple people say that they went to a course where they were taught how to handle objections by the clients and still sell their product. That just reinforces the paradigm of marketing equals manipulation – selling at any cost.

Fortunately I have seen enough proof that there are marketers who think differently – more often now marketing is seen as a vehicle of client attraction. Marketing helps inform people about the offers out there that might benefit them – build a bridge between the client needs and the solutions. There is a whole community of marketing professionals who believe that marketing should be authentic and offer value. Instead of push marketing, people are using pull marketing – attracting the clients who are looking for a solution and thus want to know more about your product or service. With pull marketing also comes the mindset that it is ok if some potential clients do not turn into buyers – there might be something that is better for them than what you are offering. In other words – the focus is not on the product or service, but on the needs of the client. And you as the seller are there to help the buyer identify what serves them best. Usually this approach also serves the seller the best – no-one wants to have a client who feels like they have been manipulated into buying and thus are complaining about the product constantly.

Which thought process applies to you? Is marketing the same as manipulation or do you think of marketing as a vehicle of client attraction?

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