Archive for the ‘On Marketing’ Category

A lot of comments on my blog have been in reference to Byron Katie.

On the flip side, there’s been a resounding silence on the others, including Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, T. Harv Eker, and the “abundance” of Law of Attraction gurus out there. What’s up with that? Any ideas?

I followed Jack Canfield for awhile on Facebook, but dropped him after he commented that at a recent seminar he had one fellow come up to him and say that he had applied Canfield’s teachings for several years now and had exponentially increased his earnings.

Canfield actually had the audacity to brag about that.

Think about it. If their teachings were accurate and all you really had to do was change your thinking from negative to positive, then wouldn’t this comment be considered mundane? After all, pretty well everyone who attends these seminars (after dishing out thousands and thousands of dollars) has this level of success, don’t they?


Don’t they?

I suspect not. Else world hunger, poverty and war would be a thing of the past.

I’ve attended a four-day workshop given by T. Harv Eker. Well, not actually Eker himself but certainly a well qualified underling. I think he was well qualified. If magnetic means well-qualified.

Which is to say I endured the 30 minutes extreme hard sell infomercials scattered throughout the seminar. I, like many others, felt like an abject failure for not signing up, for not thinking with enough guts, for not really being committed to my financial success.

And if you study (ie read on wikipedia) the sales tactics taught by Robert Cialdini, you’ll recognize them at full strength at these events.

  • Reciprocity: Give your potential customer something for free (ie a four day seminar) and they will feel indebted to buy from you
  • Commitment: Get your potential customers to commit to participating at 110% (a mathematical impossibility by the way), then, well into the series, tell them that if they are really committed to playing “full-on” then they will continue to grow on this journey (ie sign up for a 8 thousand dollar course). An interesting application of this tactic.
  • Social Proof: Plant a few seeds in the crowd. Social proof would exist when you say that there are only 29 spots available for this particular deal, and only the first 15 who sign up will get the bonus gifts (whatever they are). How hard would it be to have a few volunteers in the crowd ready to make a rush for the back, inspiring those who are “thinking about it” to stop thinking and start rushing to the back with credit card in hand.
  • Authority: We’re all suckers for it. One of the worst offenders for this that I know of was an instructor for one of Robert Kiyosaki’s course (Rich Dad Poor Dad dude). CBC’s marketplace did an investigation on him, and all of the “investments” that he bragged about were actually abysmal flops or they didn’t really exist. If there’s someone on-stage telling us “this is so,” then we tend to believe them. By virtue of their job and their script, they have god-like authority. And they know it.
  • Liking: This is a measure of popularity. One of the first things that these seminar leaders are trained to do is to get you to vehemently agree with them two to five times in the first ten minutes of their presentations. One way they do it is to say that thousands had the opportunity to come here, and you were one of the few hundred who actually showed up. They make you feel special, so you like them. They’ll incorporate call-and-repeat chant’s (“I’m a money magnet”) to heighten your sense of success so you like them even more. And goddamnit of course you’re special. You special to their success, that’s why.
  • Scarcity: As mentioned in social proof above, you’ll often hear the “seminar special” being touted. But did you know that the seminar special typically happens at every seminar, not just the one in your town cause gosh-darn they love you? Or that you can phone their headquarters and “negotiate” (ie ask for) that same price.

Cialdini’s methods are all good. These gurus take them to extreme proportions to an exalted and exhausted audience. Indeed, you can blow the equivalent of a PhD’s tuition on these gurus, and not be further ahead than you are now.

I think it speaks volumes that Byron Katie inspires conversation while the other gurus inspire silence, both on the for and the against side. I’m not exactly too sure what it says, but it’s saying something important. Question is, are we listening.

Here’s a video of a news snippet from CNN. In it, the commentator discusses the tragic death (suicide) of Colleen Conaway. The most striking part for me is that JRI (James Ray International) does not reimburse those injured or deceased. Ms. Conaway died at a JRI event and had paid for for future events. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit insane to have a written policy that states you’d give unequivocal refunds to anyone who dies at your events for current and future classes, but it does make compassionate sense to reimburse, don’t you think?

I understand the concern that a reimbursement might be seen as an admission of guilt, and perhaps that’s why none has been issued to date. But where the hell is the compassion from the man who is claiming to be changing lives of people world-wide?

A suicide, by definition, is a self inflicted event. I’m not looking to blame anyone. What I am looking for is a demonstration of compassion. That Colleen Conaway paid for courses after her death, which were not reimbursed, seems cold to me. That only one out of the three Sedona deaths received a partial reimbursement (Kirby Brown’s family received $5,000) seems callous, not to mention inadequate.

For someone who makes millions of dollars a year, you’d think that reimbursements to the tune of even $50,000 are but a drop in a bucket. Funny, because he teaches Cialdini’s marketing techniques, and there’s a proven technique of reciprocity where if you give something that’s been unsolicited there’s typically a larger return attached to it. He knows this inside and out. But what I’m seeing is a stingy man who is teaching abundance for all, to all who can afford it.

For a man banking on the Law of Attraction, you’d think paying out would be the fastest way to solicit a return. A reimbursement is a small price to pay, especially if you’re banking on the Law of Attraction to see your way out of this mess.

There’s an article on today’s CNN website called “Good, bad and ugly self-help: How can you tell?” by By Jason Hanna, (CNN Living, December 7, 2009 1:18 p.m. EST). It talks about the unregulated multi-billion dollar self-help industry and suggests that there are a few tell-tale signs of things to look for in identifying the bad and the ugly. “Self-help is a multibillion-dollar-a-year unregulated industry in the United States, according to John C. Norcross, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.” Norcross goes on to say that

… a lack of scientific evidence isn’t the only thing to look out for. Other characteristics that should make consumers wary, he says:

  • Authors or speakers who don’t have formal training in the featured topic. “They should look for someone with rigorous training at an accredited university and who has spent years investigating and conducting these treatments,” Norcross said.
  • Programs that don’t screen consumers for problems. For example, Norcross says, certain programs might be harmful for a person with bipolar disorder.
  • People who reject conventional knowledge and instead imply a revolutionary secret. “It’s marketing, essentially,” Norcross said.
  • People who propose solutions for all problems instead of particular problems.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the list in its entirety (I strongly disagree that spending years at an accredited university automatically assumes proper authority), I do think he makes some valid points. When considering a program, yes, talk to someone who has taken the course at least six months ago. But do more than ask for a reference. Ask them how that course has impacted their lives.

And, yes, anyone touting “a revolutionary secret” that will resolve all your problems and make you rich and let you “find your bliss” is bullshitting you.

You should really familiarize yourself with Robert Cialdini’s persuasion principles. Once you become aware of that sales formula, you’ll start seeing the pitches for what they are: marketing.

(Oh, and by the way, “marketing” is not a bad word. It is what it is, a tool. Being aware of this tool’s use is what will help guide you to making decisions in your best interest.)


More on Cialdini’s Marketing Techniques

   Posted by: Britt

I found the following on, the cult education forum. It is an extract (or exerpt?) from the book Cults in our Midst: Psychological Persuasion Techniques by By Margaret Thaler Singer (with Janja Lalich)

Emotional Manipulation

According to Cialdini, the majority of the thousands of different tactics that compliance professionals use fall into six categories, and each category is based on a psychological principle that directs human behavior. These six principles are:

  1. Consistency. We try to justify our earlier behavior.
  2. Reciprocity. If somebody gives us something, we try to repay in kind.
  3. Social Proof. We try to find out what other people think is correct.
  4. Authority. We have a deep-seated sense of duty to authority figures.
  5. Liking. We obey people we like.
  6. Scarcity. If we come to want something, we can be made to fear that if we wait it will be gone. The opportunity to get it may pass. We want to take it now – whatever is being offered, from an object to cosmic consciousness.

We can see how transformations occur when the six principles are skillfully put into play by cult leaders and cultic groups. For example:

  1. Consistency. If you have made a commitment to the group and then break it, you can be made to feel guilty.
  2. Reciprocity. If you accept the group’s food and attention, you feel you should repay them.
  3. Social proof. If you look around in the group, you will see people behaving in particular ways. You imitate what you see and assume that such behavior is proper, good, and expected.
  4. Authority. If you tend to respect authority, and your cult leader claims superior knowledge, power, and special missions in life, you accept him as an authority.
  5. Liking. If you are the object of love bombing and other tactics that surround you, make you feel wanted and loved, and make you like the people in the group, you feel you ought to obey these people.
  6. Scarcity. If you are told that without the group you will miss out on living a life without stress; miss out on attaining cosmic awareness and bliss; miss out on changing the world instantly or gaining the ability to travel back in time; or miss out on whatever the group offers that is tailored to seem essential to you, you will feel you must buy in now.

I visited this website, on a Twitter recommendation (someone who wanted to convert me) http:_//

This website does all the standard marketing steps to entice you to submit your email address recommended by Robert Cialdini. Are they effective? You bet! Cialdini is renowned for his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. If you watch carefully, you’ll notice how many of the law of attraction gurus carefully and meticulously apply Cialdini’s techniques. Cialdini’s techniques are quite standard, and are taught (and applied) by Arthur Ray James Himself.

Anyways, back to

The text on their front page reads:


“Law of Attraction LIES ?”

If you think the “Law of Attraction” is just a Bunch of Hype or Believe in it But It’s Just Not Working The Way You Want. Then You’ve Come to The Right Place Because We’re Giving FREE Access to the Next 100[crossed out] 74[crossed out] 27 People To The Secret Membership Where you will find Actual Scientific Video Proof That Shocked Law of Attraction Experts Everywhere

You Will Receive the Following:

  • “SCIENTIFIC VIDEO PROOF” of Actual Caught on Camera Footage that proves the “Law of Attraction is True or False? Truth Revealed YOU MAKE THE DECISION!
  • Receive 6 Life Empowering Specific Videos you can Download and Watch anytime on your PC,MAC, IPOD or Any other Media Player to Develop Key Areas of Your Life, such as Money, Relationships and Health.
  • The Original Unedited in his own words “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, A Classic That Began Everyone’s Self Development Career including Tony Robbins and Abraham Esther & Jerry Hicks just to name a few.
  • Also Receive Gold Membership Access to our Training Center to Further enhance your Life the Way YOU CHOOSE.

If it’s a law, then it’s immutable, and then (it should follow), that there is no way to wrongly apply the law. Imagine. “Oooops. I got out of bed this morning and mis-applied the law of gravity. Silly me. Tomorrow, though, I’ll buy the book and get it right.”

Let me show you (very briefly) how the marketing on this page works, using Cialdini’s six points of effective persuasion, one point at a time.


The idea if you give something for free, others will feel indebted to you and consequently make a purchase from you. Hence the plethora of “free” workshops, audio files, books, etc. It works. Oh, and if you google, “think and grow rich filetype:pdf” you’ll find an abundance of free copies of the book.


There are only 27 free memberships available, down from 100. This creates a sense of urgency. Makes you want to sign up now. (But I’ll bet you that in a month, there will still be 27 free memberships available.)

Social Proof

This is the art of creating a rush. Again, 73 free memberships have been alway taken. Less than a third left. Others are climbing over each other to sign up. What’s wrong with you?


Referencing “scientific proof” that shocked law of attraction experts everywhere.


This page is set up to be found by the already-converted, hence the consistency. People who land here will hear what they want to hear. How do I know this? Well, beyond knowing the basics marketing, I also know html intimately. I often check out the source code. The html code for the bullet graphics are given alt tags “Abraham Hicks,” who is the channeled spirit who speaks to Esther Hicks to her husband Jerry Hicks in the book, The Law of Attraction. It’s a search engine mechanism to increase your rating. Not that there’s anything wrong with marketing. I’m just noticing, and thinking out loud. In the code, you’ll see things that don’t appear on the actual page.

  • Title: Learn The Secrets Behind The Law of Attraction Utilized with Quantum Physics
  • Description: Watch the Exclusive Actual Caught On Camera Video Footage of the Law of Attraction Actually Working Scientific Proof
  • Keywords: Anthony Tony Robbins Esther Abraham Hicks Coach Coaching self development improvement law of attraction personal self motvation motivational

Further down is reference to the text that will  appear when you enter your email.

In order to Develop Your Own Personal Power Through Subconscious Mind Technologies that you will Soon Receive, you have to understand the Basics….

“Understanding How to Apply the Law of Attraction”

The Law of Attraction is the centerpiece around which your desires can be achieved. It is the definition by which your clear, steady desires will be realized.

Desire is the first facet to Learn the Law of Attraction, but it is by no means the whole. In order to bear fruit, desire must be paired with expectation. If you desire something, but in your mind, you aren’t expecting to achieve it, it should come as no surprise that you will not. Similarly, if you expect something, even though you don’t desire it, you may find that it will come to pass. This is usually a negative outcome. If you expect the train to be late, it likely will. That is a relatively benign outcome. However, if you expect to fall short of your goal, or if you expect to continually endure failure, you are setting yourself up for that exact outcome. The key is to only expect what you desire.

Everyone has interests, whether they be academic, spiritual or material. No one’s interests are entirely the same. In nurturing our desires, our task is to identify our higher interests and conflate those with our desires. In this way, we both further our interests and achieve our desires.

In order to make our higher interests flourish, we must lavish them with attention. The more attention we give to our interests, the more attraction we create. As we give more and more attention to our higher interests, our lower, material interests will be subsumed by those higher.

It’s important to start with more fundamental interests before proceeding to more particular substantive ones. For instance, if your primary interest is honesty, you will grow attraction to honesty, and thus bring more honesty and truth to your life. From this foundation, you can build your desires on other interests and you will steadily progress as a human being.

With your attention keenly on your interests, you can then bring your desires to fruition through expectation. Expecting your desired outcome is an integral part of achieving it. Your achievements will be consistent with your expectations, therefore it is prudent to expect great things, even if they seem out of reach. Expecting only modest outcomes will bring them upon you. The same applies to worrying that your expectations will not be met. This will only waste mental energy and dilute your desired outcome.

These three core steps, interest, attention and expectation, will together help you use this law to better yourself. In doing so, you will attract yourself to like-minded individuals and put yourself in positive situations. It may be as simple as meeting someone you have been thinking of, or it may be as far reaching as achieving your ultimate desire.


About Anthony (Tony) Robbins

Anthony Robbins has spoken before about using these techniques and he is a well known American Self Help Guru/Speaker/Writer and has been for the past 30 years. He became well known through his infomercials and bestselling self-help books, Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement and Awaken The Giant Within. The first edition of Unlimited Power was published by Fawcett Columbine back in 87. Robbins writes about health and energy, overcoming fears/doubts, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships.

He also became well known internationally through late night infomercials promoting personal development audio programs and motivational seminars. His audio programs, seminars and self-help products featured NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Progamming) and Ericksonian hypnosis which he studied at the start of his career.

At his seminars, Robbins also has his students Walk on Fire as a metaphor for overcoming fears and limiting beliefs. Later, Robbins combined his skills and techniques with other methods claimed to effect personal change.


You Arrived Here Because You Were Looking for:

I Pray and Hope That You have found what you are looking for
and If You Would Like to Learn More About These Advanced Techniques
as well as How Quantum Physics or Any of these
Mind Consciousness Technologies Work Please Contact Us
By Typing In Your Email or Going to the Contact Us Page.


this is the only one that’s absent from the Cialdini list of six. Typically, marketing sites do this by way of testimonials. This page, for whatever reason, doesn’t.

If you want a quick and dirty on Robert Cialdini, check it out on Wikipedia.

Notice, though, that it’s the Law of Attraction experts that are shocked. It didn’t rock the world of actual science. It didn’t rock the world of quantum physics. It shocked the Law of Attraction experts.