Marketing is all about connecting with the customer, psychologically and emotionally.
That could be done through talking to them, mirroring them, entertaining them, educating them or even confusing them but the key is to connect with them emotionally so you can influence them in one way or another to take action.
Hopefully, that action is to make a sale with you.
Sounds like a simple analogy doesn’t it!
But to make it work effectively you really need to know what drives your customers to take action.
- What are their wants and desires?
- What are their problems and setbacks?
That’s where the 7 deadly sins of marketing comes into play.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing.
The 7 Deadly sins are known as the capital sins deriving from bygone Christian teachings.
These instinctive feelings represent our excessive or compulsive disorders, but double up as fantastic marketing emotions.
They give you the inside track on how every human being thinks and an insight into the vulnerabilities that every human being might have.
This inner knowledge is your key to tapping into potential customers Psyche and figuring out what will make them take action.
With that in mind, let’s see how you can use the 7 deadly sins to market your business.
Lust – Intense Desire
Originally related to “sexual desire”, lust could be associated with the idea that “sex makes sales”.
This was a brash and gimmicky marketing idea. A clear representation of businesses lusting after customers.
It became an outdated method as both customers and businesses got much smarter and the technique of “sex sells”, evolved into “creating a following”.
Smart businesses don’t lust after the customer any more. The customer lusts after the brand instead.
Through good branding and great design, a business can become a desirable object, so much so that the customer will follow you, stalk you and lust after you.
They’ll see you as the only option for them and can even be insanely in love with your brand, creating a loyal lust for life.
I’m sure you’ve heard of “Apple Fan Boys” and “Windows Users”.
Likewise, people who describe themselves as “BMW drivers” or “Mercedes Drivers” rather than just “a driver”.
Sure, these are big name brands but there are tons of start-ups and SME’s using the same brand methodology to create a following for their own business.
- Select a niche audience
- Tap into their psyche
- Create a brand for that niche audience
- Use contemporary design to mirror the audience’s values, desires and expectations
- Use social media to create a following of loyal lusters
Think about it! Lust > Stalk > Follow!
Is there really a big difference between the three?
By creating a focused brand and targeting niche audiences, consumers can become in Lust with the brand, and if you can create an image and a loyal following that’s desirable, your business will have the benefit of being lusted after.
You won’t have to lust after customers anymore, they’ll lust after you.
Gluttony – Over Indulgence
Originally concerned with food, today Gluttony associates itself with much more guilty pleasures.
It’s like desire or lust but with physical consumption.
Gluttony encourages consumers to consume more by buying more.
However, to make it work, the business must make the option to buy more, a no brainer.
Why buy a regular McDonalds Value meal when you can pay 30p more for a large one?
Admittedly, we don’t really need a larger meal but marketers will use terms like “value” and “more” to appeal to our intelligence in order to make us more Gluttonous.
It’s not just down to food though.
Every business uses “upsells”.
With an upsell, the customer has already chosen the business that they want to buy from.
They’re even ready to make payment.
This means they have bought into your brand and found the solution that they need.
The upsell is an added option for the consumer at the end of the sales process and they don’t have to take the option but more often than not, they will because they all have gluttony inside of them.
They become euphoric with spending money and will buy in excess of their needs thanks to your upsell marketing.
Are you upselling anything? Even a small upsell can improve
Greed – Possess more than one needs – Credit
Greed was associated with theft or want of material things and takes an actionable role.
But today you don’t need to steal to satisfy your greedy need.
You can get credit instead.
Payment plans and credit make it possible for you to buy things which may be out of your financial reach.
The real question though is, “Do you really need to buy that?”
Probably not. You’re just greedy!
With credit and payment plans we can feed the greed and keep businesses in business, creating a chain of supply and demand.
Improve your marketing, simply by innovating products and providing payment plans so your products become ever evolving and affordable to anyone.
You’ll capture customers who you would normally miss and create an ongoing revenue stream for greedy buyers.
Sloth – Laziness physically or spiritually
Defined as “one’s failure to act on one’s talents and gifts”. Today it’s seen as being unspiritual and possibly lazy.
Sloth promotes quickness combined with new ideas to make us more slothful. Technology, services, entertainment and lifestyle are all becoming “instant.”
It’s a basis to make us more slothful and less spiritual by wanting everything quicker and easier.
Much like Greed, Sloth uses innovation and availability to make your marketing work better.
You can brand and promote your business/product/service as the next:
- New thing
- Best thing
- Improved thing
- Quicker Thing
Sloth gives your marketing basic substance.
It’s the reason why your product is as a better solution.
It’s the reason why your product exists.
Explained in one line.
Sloths marketing tactic is “make it instant, less thinking”.
Envy – Jealousy
Envy is jealousy, directed at a person specifically but its true power lies in the fact that it’s ultimately introspective.
It makes us look at ourselves comparatively to others with regards to our own pursuit for perfection.
Fundamentally, it reveals vulnerabilities, problems within and maybe something we don’t have.
It’s like looking into a giant mirror! You’ll see:
- A reflection of yourself
- Problems with yourself
And that’s how you use envy within your own marketing.
You first need to mirror your audience so you can relate to them.
Then you show them the real problems they face.
Then you reveal the solution, making them green with envy because they don’t have the solution.
Their next step will be to buy the solution, making them less vulnerable and more perfect as a result.
Beauty adverts do it by using models and celebrities to demonstrate their products.
A way of making everyday people feel envious and vulnerable with their appearance.
There’s no need to be envious though as the beauty solution their selling, solves the problem.
British army adverts do it by mirroring young men who may have lost direction in life.
They resonate with the audience, portraying a problematic sense of under achievement.
Then they show action scenes and freedom that signed up Army members have.
The young men become envious and join up as the solution to their own vulnerabilities and pursuit of perfection.
Envy is often used in marketing through storytelling to create an illusion of perfection, a false relationship, a reason to be envious and reason to buy your products.
Pride – More important and attractive than others
Considered the biggest sin in Christianity, is your pride.
It seems like a personal character trait that’s not really marketing orientated but it is actually an easy to target characteristic.
Pride in marketing defines itself as the latest thing.
Get the “NEW” BMW 5 Series, the “NEW” iPad 5, the “NEW” improved hair shampoo.
Because the old one is now old and the new one is better and if you have any pride you’ll want the best, the latest and the new version, to be attractive and more important to satisfy your pride.
Having the old won’t suffice.
Wrath – Anger and revenge
How can wrath be used as a sales technique?
Definitively, wrath is negative with violent outcomes, quite impossible to be sold as a positive point but Wrath is the only sin that’s not wholly associated with selfishness.
Wrath is rage aimed at someone else as oppose to pure self-satisfaction.
Marketers use wrath subliminally to sell through two forms being “customer service” and “communities”.
Good customer service is one of the most desired and appreciated sales aspects.
It could be the very reason why you’ve won someone else’s customer.
Technically it could also come in the form of forums and groups.
Think of it as pre and post wrath diffusion to make a sale and keep you in the mitts of potential customers.
When your creating your next marketing plan, design document or brand strategy consider using the 7 sins to build a better relationship with your audience. It may sound sinister but remember that we all possess the 7 sins, it’s human nature and we can all relate to them.
On another note a sin is only a sin “in excess” and how we react to our sins is what could turn a sin into a positive thing.
After all, each sin could be mistaken for ambition, success or self-improvement.
Are the 7 sins actually a positive thing?
Are marketers actually trying to save our souls as oppose to buying them?
What do you think?