Why Persuasive Technology Just Might Redefine Advertising

Marketers are missing their chance with persuasive technology. Need convincing?

Let’s take a step back. Persuasion used to be considered an art in which advertisers were masterful. Words like “magic,” “miracle,” “bargain,” “hurry” and “free” were used with surgical precision to spur target audiences to act. Advertisers were indeed persuasive, but not all that subtle. But, hey, when all you have are a few mass channels, like a placement during “The Cosby Show” or a print ad in Life magazine, it is effective, or rather it was.

Journey forward to the game-changing decade of our post-Internet advertising world. Consumers’ mistrust and awareness of sales and advertising techniques are at an all-time high. And the hard sell is as out of style as a Members Only jacket.

Now in our digital experiences, especially the ones built around our mobile devices, there is a new form of persuasiveness in town. The problem is brands and marketers are undervaluing it. It is persuasive technology. In simplest terms, persuasive technology is any system, app or software that through its function and design can change a user’s attitude or behavior.  



For example, persuasive technology would be a healthcare app that encourages exercise and fitness and rewards you as you go. Or financial apps that encourage saving and investing, enabling you to not only track and understand your finances, but also provide tips and education about how to be more fiscally responsible. Or consider Progressive Insurance’s “Snapshot” usage-based program, which monitors your driving data via your car’s data port. The safer you drive, the more you save.

Through the use of these systems, your attitude and behaviors are changed far beyond what a convincing bit of copy or picture can do. They become part of your daily life.

Persuasive technology is a game-changing way to connect with prospects and customers. It enables brands to become more humanly relevant than merely pushing messages to people. And the fun part about it is that it gives advertisers a way to be engaging in a whole new way.

We are entering a new “Mad Men” style of marketing bravado armed with new tools of persuasion that just may make advertising more relevant than ever before.

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