How to Use “Propaganda” to Influence Your Prospects’ Behavior

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If you are like me, you may not like the idea of using “propaganda”.

However, if you want to better the lives of others with your products and/or business opportunity you need to read this blog by Andrew T. Draughon.

Here’s a classic interview question that still trips up the occasional aspiring-salesperson today.

“Sell me this pen.”

Ever heard this one before?

The gist is this:

I hand you an ordinary, run-of-the mill fountain pen, and you try to sell it to me.

This scenario was featured brilliantly in The Wolf of Wall Street and is still a somewhat-common interview question in the modern sales world.

Most people try to rattle off as many features of the pen as they can imagine, knowing full well that they’re fudging the facts.

“It never runs out of ink!”


“It’s, uh, made of the same material as the…International Space Station!”


“This pen never bleeds!”

There is no “right” answer to this riddle…

Although a common response is…

“Can you write down your name for me?”



You be the judge.

But the real trick is turning the question around on the asker.

Now, this exercise might seem like little more than a lesson in acing an interview for a job you’re probably not applying for.

However, it’s also a key lesson that so many marketers screw up.

You see…

Savvy marketers sell more than a product

Here’s the thing…

In the “sell me this pen” scenario, it’s not about the pen at all.

It’s about the need for the pen.

You could replace “pen” with “online course” or “digital product” and it’s still the same scenario.

And here’s what you don’t want…

You don’t want to understand the features and benefits of your product but get stuck with a deer-in-the-headlights look on your face when it actually comes time to SELL to your prospects.

So always remember:

It’s not about the product.

And it’s not about features or benefits, either.

Hint: people don’t buy anything for external reasons, they buy due to internal pains and desires.

And if you’re selling anything, you can have an amazing, mind-blowing product…

Yet still fumble if you haven’t engaged your prospects’ internal state.

We’ve talked about the need to tap into “mass desires” before.

That’s because the best marketers out there don’t simply sell products.

They sell desire, results, and identity.

And you can, too.

All it takes is a quick lesson in propaganda.

The eggs n’ bacon school of marketing

Now, when I talk about propaganda, I’m not talking about the “fake news” debate that’s taking the world by storm.

Propaganda is simply the act of changing public discourse to sway people’s actions.

Sure, the term itself has sinister associations, but that’s not always the case.

The principles of propaganda work so well in the world of marketing, in ways that most of us aren’t even aware of.

I’ll give you one of my favorite examples from the 1920s.

See, during the Roaring Twenties the typical American breakfast consisted of toast, coffee, and orange juice.

Families back then had a “go, go, go” mentality and rarely had time for a traditional hot, sit-down meal.

Sound familiar?

This was a major concern to the Beech Nut Packing Company.


Well, their main product was bacon.

Back then, bacon for breakfast was a foreign concept.

People just weren’t on board with its fatty, salty goodness for breakfast (sorry vegans and vegetarians in the house).

So the good people at the Beech Nut Packing Company decided to take a slightly unconventional approach to dealing with their bacon problem…

They hired a famed propagandist

The man they hired was Edward Bernays.

Simply put, this guy was the LeBron James of propaganda.

Bernays was far from your traditional ad man.

He didn’t create his campaign for bacon by putting it on sale or trying to sway people with its delicious flavor.

He didn’t dress up salesmen in pig costumes on the street to give away free samples.

Nor did he try to create a brilliant bacon-based recipe book.

None of which are terrible ideas, it’s true.

But instead, he took a totally different approach.

An approach that had little to do with bacon itself.

Bernays quickly realized the best way to get bacon on the breakfast plate was to…

Indirectly influence the daily eating habits of everyday families

To do this, he sought out and identified the trusted authority figures on the standard American diet.

He didn’t talk to butchers, grocers, or even the families themselves.

Instead, he sent out a survey to 5,000 doctors across the country asking one simple question:

“Do you support a hearty breakfast or a light one?”

4,500 doctors (that’s 90%, by the way) agreed that a hearty breakfast was the way to go.

The propagandist in Bernays took that response and ran wild with it, arranging for an educational campaign to be published in newspapers across the country which proclaimed…

“Nine out of ten doctors recommend a hearty breakfast!”

And guess what was suggested as the go-to hearty breakfast?

Bacon and eggs.

Obviously, the campaign was a massive success.

Walk into any diner across the country and you’d be hard-pressed not to find a side of bacon on any given table.

And by the way, that’s exactly where the “nine out of ten doctors recommend” cliche in the infomercial world came from.

Anyhow, the key takeaway here is that Bernays was able to uncover arguably the most effective way to advertise bacon without actually advertising bacon.

He ran a survey and publicized the results.

That’s it.

Notice that I never mentioned “running ads” in that story, either.

As a marketer, you should strive to take a similar approach.

Because sometimes it pays to act less like an advertiser and more like a propagandist.

Here’s what I mean…

Advertising doesn’t have to be “advertising”

So if you want to advertise ala Bernays, it pays to understand psychology.

In fact, Bernays was actually Sigmund Freud’s nephew.

Yeah, the Sigmund Freud.

As a result, Bernays was knee-deep in Freud’s concept of subconscious desires and motivations, which he used to influence public opinion on a larger scale.

Beyond bacon, Bernays went on to work under two U.S. Presidents and was listed as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century by Life magazine due to his accomplishments as a PR mastermind.

A couple of which include…

He popularized the concept of the “music room” in one’s home (in order to sell pianos).

He was also responsible for the mandate requiring hair nets at certain jobs.

Most famously, though…

Bernays was also responsible for overturning the idea that “nice girls don’t smoke”

Back in the 1950s, Bernays arranged massive PR demonstration which saw fashionable women protesting in the streets of New York City while lighting up, inspiring women across the country to smoke in public and challenge the double-standard.

As a result, the idea of women smoking as something taboo dissolved in a matter of weeks.

Impressive, right?

Again, Bernays’ success in the world of PR has less to do with the products he was looking to push versus influencing the desires of the public:

  • The desire to be healthier through eating a hearty breakfast.
  • The desire to be sophisticated by owning a piano.
  • Or the desire to end a form of oppression by smoking in public.

In each case, the product is secondary.

What comes first is something much, much bigger.

So what’s bigger than your product?

Effective ads are about so much more than catchy jingles, buzzworthy benefits, and the thing you’re selling.

I’m not saying that products don’t matter, but a sense of identity is so much more important to your prospects.

Let’s go back to Bernays and how identity shaped his campaigns.

Bernays wasn’t selling bacon to American families.

He was selling better health.

People don’t care about bacon, but they do care about their health.

See how the concept is framed?

Rarely are we ever convinced to purchase a particular product.

But rather a larger idea, concept, or image.

The world of network marketing plays by the exact same rules.

Here at EMP, we provide courses on subjects such as email marketing, traffic generation, and social media.

And yeah, these tactics are incredible for growing your network marketing empire, no doubt.

But marketing these tactics is about more than just generating leads and increasing your conversions.

It’s about the values of entrepreneurship

You see, everything you learn here at EMP is ultimately a matter of identity.

Think about it…

Entrepreneurs, such as yourself if you’re reading this, have a different identity than your typical employee.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working as an employee.

But I think you’ll agree there’s a difference between identifying as an employee versus identifying as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, even if they’re currently working a job, have their eyes on building their own enterprise, right?

And for good reason too…

Entrepreneurship is a path to the ultimate desire

Which is freedom.

Freedom, above all else, is what aspiring business owners desire.

Ask yourself…

  • Do you want the rude awakening of an alarm clock?
  • Do you want to be forced into a miserable, traffic-jammed commute?
  • Or do you want to be hounded by a boss who wants you to come in on Sunday to finish up those TPS reports?

Again, these are all matters of identity.

Particularly if you’re building your business online…

  • You want to be the one steering the ship
  • You want to be your own captain, working on your own time and terms
  • And you definitely want to decide how, when, and where you work!


So when you’re communicating with your audience…

These points should come first and foremost.

And yeah, you want to use all the other marketing tactics we’ve talked about in the past.

You know, stuff like focusing on benefits, being ultra specific, and offering up strong proof elements.

Those things still matter, of course.

But never lose sight of the big picture.

Everything should be framed around a larger vision.

So ask yourself…

How are you making your prospects feel?

Is your product going to help them live the life they’ve always dreamed of?

Allowing them to make the rules?

Are you helping them feel empowered to achieve their desires?

Because it doesn’t matter what you’re selling to an entrepreneur, whether it’s a pen or a hearty breakfast…

Once you tap into a sense of freedom, you’re golden.

Nothing else even comes close.

And that’s the bottom line.

So now that you’re clear on what you’re actually selling…

How do you put your message in front of your market?

As you’ve learned…

Uncovering your prospects’ true desires is the first aspect of sealing the deal.

The second is exposing your offer to your audience.

Which, for us, typically means placing shiny ads out there on today’s hottest advertising platform.

Fortunately, even if you’re a “technophobe”…

You don’t have to let the technical side of marketing hold you back from finding hot new prospects.

We’ve got that covered.

In fact, I’d like to invite you to check out a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, our co-founder and CEO here at Elite Marketing Pro, who’s responsible for generating over 30 million dollars in revenue online (and counting).

Simply pick a time and register right here.

You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.

In fact…

We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.

And Tim will show exactly how we did it.

So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?

Pick a time that works for you to attend Tim’s traffic workshop right here.


Until next time,

Andrew Draughon
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro

Andrew T Draughon


Andrew Draughon is the Director of Content at Elite Marketing Pro. Yet not long ago Andrew was hauling shingles and hanging drywall for paltry wages in the frigid winters of upstate Pennsylvania. Making the decision to never wake up before sunrise in sub-zero weather again, Andrew moved to Florida, discovered his passion for marketing, and has been working via his laptop ever since.

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