Marketing is all about persuasion.

Of course, you could argue that some of the most successful brands of all time—Coca-Cola or Nike, say—got to where they are not by convincing people that their products were the best but by simply making their name more visible.

However, even visibility is a persuasive event: For example, seeing a Nike product worn by a professional athlete gives you the impression that Nike's quality is high.

So if marketing can be boiled down to persuasion, then highly effective persuasive techniques should be able to take any campaign goal to that proverbial "next level," whether that means attracting more traffic, earning more conversions, or sparking more customer engagements.

Rhetoric and Persuasion

According to Aristotle, there are three "modes" of persuasion to be used in rhetoric—the formal name for the study and practice of persuasion. Those modes are...

  1. Ethos, or appeals to authority and moral values
  2. Pathos, or appeals to emotion
  3. Logos, or appeals to logic and reason

I'll expound on their modern iterations in the next section, but I'll add two other modes that are important to modern marketers—not because I think Aristotle "missed" some, but because classical rhetoric was used for political debate rather than marketing messaging.

The Five Modern Modes of Marketing Persuasion

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Timothy Carter is the chief revenue officer of Seattle digital marketing agency He has spent 20+ years in SEO and digital marketing, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

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