Persuasive vs Provoked selling: Which is best for your business?

There is lot of discussion and research that goes in to decide the right marketing campaign for your business. One wrong survey stat or not so well placed campaign will not only prove to be a waste of money and resources but might even prove to be critical for your brand's survival and ultimately affecting your business.

I personally believe that there are two type of selling that marketers can follow. One is the persuasive way, that we normally see. This kind of selling is best when you have a very competitive market and the product differentiation among competitors is not done over a clear boundary line. Suppose, you are selling flight tickets online, unless you have made a clear distinction from the other OTAs(online travel agencies) or created a niche market for your portal, it can be seriously harming for your brand if you do not persuade your perspective buyers and convert them to loyal customers. In such a case, a TVC or other form of media is used to communicate what are the good things that happen when your product is used or in this case when your portal is used. You do not discuss the current situation of the perspective users, you only talk about the goodness of the product. In such cases you are actually convincing or even begging to the audience. So, does the audience really care? Truly speaking, no. It could work to create an awareness about your existence but they wouldn't really bother to buy until a trusted WoM(word of mouth).

In the second method that i am calling as provoked selling you actually tend to communicate with the audience about their current situation. You tell the audience not what they would get if they buy your product or use your service but instead what they are missing by not doing so. This kind of message followed by a call for action number would indeed get your perspective buyers talking to you and from thereon its up to your sales department to take off the conversions. A good example would be the print ads from Australian Tourism that shows you a beautiful scene and says, "So where the bloody hell are you?". This kind of campaigns do not need any complementary WoM, though a little of it could always be used.

Recently i was going through the TVC campaigns for encouraging public participation against Polio in India. One could easily distinguish that the videos fell broadly into the first category that i call persuasive. In this kind, there were celebrities asking the audience to go to polio booths for there child's safety. But one of the ads that i would call as provoked selling, featuring Amitabh Bachchan(one of the most well known actors of Indian Cinema) did not ask to do anything. In this TVC the ambassador actually thrashed the audience for being responsible for there child's condition, he shouted on them for there carelessness, he even warned that your(the audience's) child could be the next victim of this disease. And that was it, this not only got the audience talking about polio and free polio booths(spreading WoM) but even got the audience to buy into the idea of taking there child to polio booths.

By provoking a thought you make the customer feel proud that he took the decision of buying your product or service. This feeling of pride and confidence is shared with fellow mates or on product reviews and testimonials, thereby spreading a stronger WoM. So every customer becomes a brand ambassador.
More on this in my next post. Do share your curses and thoughts if you are not yet sold to my points.


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