I am thrilled to have Judith Sherven, PhD and Jim Sniechowski, PhD as my guest bloggers today. Judith and Jim are the authors of an outstanding book that brings consciousness to the forefront of marketing and sales.
Following is an article called Soft Sell Marketing — Persuasion in Plain View
This afternoon I (Jim) began reading a book on subliminal persuasion.
It’s not the first persuasion book I’ve read, but it is the first with
an emphasis on subliminal.
And it goes against everything Judith and I believe in as Soft Sell
marketers and advocates for the Soft Sell, heart-centered
perspective—i.e. marketing with consciousness and conscience.
Just the use of the word “subliminal” is enough to go against how we
want to market. But in case you might not have a formal definition,
here it is (from www.dictionary.com):
Subliminal — existing or operating below the threshold of
consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to
produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense
enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the
And for persuasion:
Persuasion—to induce one to undertake a course of action or
embrace a point of view by means of argument, reasoning, or entreaty.
There are a number of problems with the juxtaposition of “subliminal”
and “persuasion” as they are here defined, contradiction being the
But I want to focus on what the author of the book I’m reading has to say.
Early on he states that he wrote his book as a key for controlling
consumers. And that control is achieved because his techniques preclude
any conscious evaluation on the part of the one being persuaded.
That’s obvious. After all, what else would “subliminal” mean?
But ask yourself, what’s the need for persuasion to be covert—subliminal? Why hide what you’re doing?
As a marketer, doesn’t the writer believe the customer is capable
of making a sound decision? Or is he afraid that that’s precisely what
the customer is capable of doing and may not make a decision in his
Perhaps it’s his product. Or, rather, the quality of his product?
Or is it the quality of his soul?
This last is not an over-the-top question, because the writer includes
within the first three pages, two entries that made the statement (my
I’m going to show you these techniques and they can be
terribly misused. I’m being ethical in divulging this material. It’s up
to you to use it ethically.
What’s his worry? Why the disclaimer?
Because he knows his objective is to minimize your critical thinking so
that you will be open and emotionally available to accepting whatever
he, as a marketer, is marketing.
Now it’s true that we all persuade every day. It’s part of being alive.
Soft Sell marketers are not exempt. And we all need to do so because of
what Judith and I call everyone’s natural, innocent, narcissistic
preoccupation with our own lives.
For persuasion to work, you have to capture a person’s attention long
enough to deliver your message. And your reader/listener must be
intrigued enough to take it in and be impacted. That all takes time, a
commodity in our ever-increasing and faster lives most of us preciously
guard. And that makes persuasion harder.
But it’s the hidden quality of “subliminal” that bothers me. When the
writer consciously chooses to be subliminal his motives become suspect.
What kind of person is he? Why can’t he be straight up with me? Is he
afraid? Or maybe just nefarious?
Questions tumble on one another creating a mound of mistrust and deep suspicion.
So as a Soft Sell marketer, that’s hardly the response you want. So
your persuasion needs to be in plain view. Nothing to hide. Up front.
You know what you offer is real. It works. And you’re not only not
afraid to make your claims, you are proud, excited, enthused, eager to
demonstrate the results of your solution(s) . . .
AND willing to bestow on your customer the power and right to make a decision based on his or her critical assessment.
You are dedicated to not abusing the integrity of your customer—the
receiver of your message—because you trust yourself and those you
How else could you be the care-giver you are, the marketer whose ROE
(Return of Experience) product or service will change lives for the
better . . .
AND you are ready and willing to let everyone know as straightforwardly as you can.
Persuasion in plain view. Soft Sell Marketing. The marketing point
of view of the future, for a better marketplace and a better planet . .
. a better customer and a better you.
The Heart of Marketing is a great resource for anyone
looking for solid marketing strategies and tactics with a Soft Sell,
heart-based approach to create real profit and long-term customer
relationships. Order your own copy of The Heart of Marketing within the next 24 hours and receive over $8,400 in bonus gifts from experts around the globe. Go to