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Posted: 2006-07-11 / Author: Bob Serling

The Most Powerful Word In Marketing

The Most Powerful Word In Marketing:
It isn't "free".

It isn't "you".

It isn't anything you might imagine.

So what the heck is the most powerful word in marketing?

Because what I'm about to reveal to you is so important, I want to ask you to do something a bit out of the ordinary to set the stage. Whether you're sitting or standing, lift your right foot off the ground about two inches and hold it there for a count of three.

Did you do this? If not, I really want you to take a few seconds to do it now, because it will hammer home the importance of what I'm about to tell you.

So go ahead. Lift your foot up about two inches, then hold it for a count of 1-2-3.

The power of a single word to drive people to action

If you went ahead and did my little exercise, you've just experienced the profound effect of the most powerful word in marketing.

So now do you know what that word is?

It's embedded in both the requests I made of you to lift your foot and do my goofy little exercise. That word is - drum roll please...


Studies have proven that no word has more power to motivate people to take action than "because". Simply adding this word to a request, to a statement, to a call to action, the number of people who respond go up exponentially.

Hey, it got you to lift your foot up for a three count, didn't it?

Why the word "because" is so effective

In the classic book "Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion", Dr. Robert Cialdini talks about the power of certain words that tap into preprogrammed behaviors we all have. He demonstrates this form of human automatic action in a study conducted by Ellen Langer, a Harvard social psychologist.

Langer asked a favor of people standing in line waiting to make copies on a Xerox machine at a library. Her first request to cut the line was stated using the word, "because":

“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush.”

The results? 94% of the people she asked let her jump ahead of them!

Now, compare this to the second request she made, without "because" embedded in it:

"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?"

Using this version of the request, results plummeted to just 60%.

To prove the powerful ability of the word "because" to trigger an automatic response, Langer's final test used just the word without a specific reason:

"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?"

This almost non-sensical version produced nearly identical results to the first "because" statement. A whopping 93% of people complied and let Langer jump ahead of them.

"Because" is a simple word with a powerful ability to trigger an automatic response in most people.

How to start using "because" to your advantage

There are dozens of ways to start taking advantage of this powerful trigger word in your copy. Here are just two examples.

(1) Use "because" in your headline.

Because your life may depend on it, you owe it to yourself to find out how a common garden herb can reduce your chance of heart attack by 47%

(2) Use "because" in a call to take action.

Instead of, "Hurry, seating is limited to just 60 people. Don't risk missing out. Enroll in this all-day event now".

Use, "Because seating is limited to just 60 people, don't risk missing out. Enroll in this all-day event now".

But don't just stop there. Because this knowledge can be so effective for improving the selling power of all your copy, spend some time brainstorming other ways you can put it to use today!

About The Author: Bob Serling has been helping businesses – large and small – market their products and services more effectively for over 25 years. You can start sampling Bob’s unique take on marketing by subscribing to his FREE ezine, Direct Marketing Insider, at

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