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The Surprising Science Behind Influence and Persuasion

I’ve been vocal about my disdain on the latest panacea of how influence marketing is being sold online. While I believe influencers have great reach and some influence, I don’t believe that they have the power of persuasion independent of other factors. Influence marketing still requires a strategy beyond throwing some tickets at an influencer or getting a retweet.

According to Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition), I may be onto something. His analysis has found that there are 6 universal principals to influence and persuade individuals:

  1. Reciprocity – the obligation to give back what you have received from others.
  2. Scarcity – people want more of those things that there are less of.
  3. Authority – people will follow the lead of credible and knowledgeable experts.
  4. Consistency – activated by looking and asking for small initial commitments that can be made.
  5. Liking – people prefer to say yes to those they like.
  6. Consensus – people will look to the actions of others to determine their own.

This infographic from everreach illustrates the 6 universal principles of Influence and Persuasion:


Here’s a detailed conversation of Influence and Persuasion in an animated video from INFLUENCE AT WORK (IAW):

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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