Influence, Influence, Influence (book review)

July 31, 2009

At the heart of marketing lies the implicit desire that you want someone else to do something.Cover of

It may be buy a product, attend an event, become a fan, whatever.

In other words, you are attempting to influence people.

So, what better book to pick up than Robert Cialdini’s classic work “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

He outlines some “weapons of influence,” [his term, not mine] which you can deploy.

Manipulative? Maybe, so if you don’t like that, you can stop reading now.

Ok, I knew you wouldn’t.

Here we go.

  1. Reciprocation—simply put, if you do something (no matter how small) for someone else, they can’t help but feel obligated to return the favor (and usually disproportionate to your initial gesture)
  2. Commitment and Consistency- If I make a small decision, say signing a petition that states my desire to protect the rainforest, it will be easier for me to make a follow-on, larger commitment (and conversely more difficult to make a contrary decision).
    The reason why? I want to believe that I made a smart decision in the past, so I will reinforce it now. And if I don’t, I risk looking like a fool.
  3. Social Proof-we do what others do. If a lot of people follow me on Twitter, then it is more likely that you will versus if I follow a lot of people, but no one follows me back.
  4. Liking-pretty easy. If people like you, they will be more likely to be opened to your ideas. So, don’t be a jerk.
  5. Authority-people respond to those with authority. It can be a police uniform or it can be the fact that Community Driven Marketing is patent-pending and I have a book coming out soon. Some degree of authority (degree from Harvard Law, which I don’t have) makes some people more likely to be persuaded.
  6. Scarcity-if I tell you you can’t have it because it’s a limited-time offer, you are likely to want it more. Goes all the way back to our caveman days.


Obviously, these can be used for good or evil (hopefully, you’ll use them for good in your life), but they are certainly valuable tools to have in your belt (or weapons in your arsenal, I suppose).


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