The dictionary gives two definitions of manipulation:
- The action of manipulating something in a skilful manner
- The action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous way
Well, do we try to handle our marketing in a skilful manner, to influence our audience’s buying decisions? Yes, of course we do – that’s how we sell our goods and services. But there’s a huge difference between doing that and using marketing unscrupulously to deceive our audience.
We do use marketing to manipulate and get the sale, but remember, the consumers themselves make their own decisions. They can educate themselves and they can make their own choices. What we can do is to present ourselves honestly, and if we do it skilfully enough, we hope to get the result. The consumers’ desire is already there – by manipulating it through marketing we are simply trying to channel it in our direction.