If we discuss fear-based management styles in sales, it implies that someone somewhere did devise it and bore a positive result.
In her book The Fearless Organization, Amy Edmundson based the origin of this germane technique back in the early 1900s when managers at Ford deployed this technique with process improvements, only to witness a massive spike in revenue for years to come. When other automobile companies followed, it fairly earned the industry’s “best practice” tag.
This belief has trickled down to the contemporary management styles that many SEO companies hold today. However, the pervading issues have made it irrelevant and have crippled high performance. This article shall examine these issues at length. However, before we judge its hindrance to a team’s productivity, it is crucial to analyze how it has evolved over the years and why it poses a threat to an organization’s productivity in today’s time.
Rationale Behind Fear-based Marketing
People have used gestures as a language to communicate with each other and to make others understand their needs from the dawn of time. One may be convinced to do practically anything through emotional manipulation, including influencing clients’ emotions to encourage them to buy certain products/services.
This method needs a great deal of skill, training, and subtlety. You must first establish confidence by pointing out flaws and actual issues that the consumer is experiencing, instilling a sense of insecurity in them. For example- “Do you have a problem, Sir? This is an extremely risky situation. It would be best to get rid of it as quickly as possible. This is what you require. It’s designed specifically for you. It is available for purchase. You should purchase it. You should have purchased it by now. Yes, you made a good decision by purchasing it.”
This was the rationale behind the advent of the technique in the 1900s when the manufacturing industry exploded with the creation of the assembly line. This meant that workers had to accomplish hundreds of repetitive tasks daily, requiring very little thought. Research studies supported the effectiveness of fear and intimidation in such environments as a motivation for workers to complete mindless repetitive tasks faster without compromising quality.
Though ethically problematic, crude businessmen followed it nonetheless since the performance did get “optimized” to a certain extent.
Consequent Redundancy of Scare Tactics
The marketing environment in today’s world has become more uncertain, complex, variable, and ambiguous. Creativity has replaced scare tactics with brands like McAfee coming up with positive marketing tactics each day by quoting “peace of mind.” As a result, managers rather expect their sales professionals to operate with high degrees of empathy without plunging customers into the intimidation factor. Besides, many research publications have proven that fear leads people to make significantly more mistakes while working on complicated tasks.
Where Fear-Based Sales Could Go Wrong
Fear-based marketing has been responsible for many dysfunctional behaviors in the workplace. Fear-based management styles have been questioned, primarily due to their rigid nature.
Fear Will Not Work Every Time
Smoking causes cancer. Murder causes jail. In both cases, these are not the outcomes you want. If you smoke, you’re more likely to get cancer. If you commit murder, you’re more likely to go to jail or worse.
So when it comes to marketing and advertising, many people assume that scare tactics are a good strategy for getting people to buy something. Since the desired outcome is a purchase and not lung cancer, scare tactics might effectively get the results marketers want. Scare commercials about drugs or smoking, such as the classic one showing a sponge drenched in tar to depict the effect of smoking on lungs or mouth cancer patients, are some of the most unforgettable. However, while these advertisements may have garnered much attention, it does not guarantee that those people will buy anything.
It Might Hurt Your Reputation
Companies and brands today are very conscious of reviews. The first thing that most people do before making their first purchase from a brand or a product goes through inspections. When they are a big turn-off, a company might lose potential customers.
It’s tempting to opt for the most dramatic headline possible when trying to catch people’s attention. But, as much as we all love a good scare, there’s a big difference between being entertained by a horror movie and being spooked by an email from a makeup brand. Being associated and connected with fear is something the brand does not wish for, and neither do most other businesses.
When you use fear tactics in your content, you put your readers on edge—and that often makes them more likely to dismiss what you have to say. Even if they don’t ignore it outright, they might be so busy reacting to their fear that they miss the arguments you’re making. You’ve worked hard to establish a positive brand image, and one headline that goes too far into the fear zone could cost you credibility and sales.
Being Perceived As Insensitive/Callous
It’s easy to go too far with scare tactics in imagery and text. It’s not just that this kind of marketing can come off as insensitive or out of touch; it can also be very memorable in the wrong way. Fear marketing is somewhat like telling an off-color joke at a family function after having had too many drinks: people will remember it, but not for reasons you’d want them to. You start out trying to make a point, but the next thing you know, you’ve offended people and made a wrong impression on your company.
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