Sunday, September 30, 2012

Persuasion & Influence for Modern Marketers - #5 Consistency

Consistency is one that may not be easily applied by the Modern Marketer in the course of regular marketing strategy and tactics.  The idea behind the principle of consistency is that people will, more often than not, want to remain consistent with their stated or written opinions, values or commitments.  If you want to influence your colleagues, subordinates, or your boss, getting them to state a position out loud is a powerful form of persuasion. Even more powerful is getting them to write it down and share it with other colleagues.  Naturally, the statement cannot be coerced in any way or you may see the opposite effect.

Let's take an example where you are a member of a cross-functional team charged with evaluating vendors and software platforms for marketing automation.  You prefer a vendor that is able to provide a certain feature that you think would be very valuable and make your life a little easier.  You would have a much better chance of influencing the group to choose a platform offering that feature if you could get each person to verbally state that it is indeed important to have that feature.   For this principle to work best, the commitment or statement must be active (stated verbally or written down), public and voluntary.

The principle goes hand-in-hand with the idea of cognitive dissonance.  People will naturally try to align their actions with their beliefs.  Cognitive dissonance is when there is significant discomfort being felt by an individual whose actions are not aligned with their internal beliefs about themselves.  Writing down a commitment is an action and people will try to remain consistent with the statement to avoid the discomfort of non-alignment.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm not sure how you, my fellow Modern Marketer, could apply this principle to your marketing mix.  But, I can think of one example where this principle is applied every day in many school rooms around the USA; the daily reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

If any of you, dear readers, think of a way to apply the principle of consistency to a marketing activity or strategy,  please feel free to share via the blog comments.