If you’ve never read The Lord of the Rings… or at least seen the movies — a much diluted retelling in this Hobbit’s opinion… then you probably don’t know the wicked wiles of Grima Wormtongue.
I’ll give you the short version, otherwise we’ll be here all day:
Basically, Grima, who’s a human by the way, is working with the ‘dark forces’ of Middle Earth for his own personal gain. In exchange for corrupting the noble King of Rohan (oh boy do I sound like a nerd…), he was promised land and power.
There’s a lot we could dive into about this part of the story. But what I’d like to point out is Wormtoungue’s vile ‘persuasion’ tactics.
You see, because he was working against the King’s best interest (and really the best interest of everyone except the ‘dark forces’), the only power he had was deception and deceit. He couldn’t righteously persuade the King with good reasons why.
In other words, his only option was to ‘pull a veil’ over the eyes of the King.
Which worked for a time…
Until a group of noble warriors came to the King’s hall and used a much more powerful principle of persuasion.
You see, instead of deceit and deception… instead of acting out of self-preservation… instead of a snivelling creature hiding in the shadows…
These noble warriors cast light upon the King and showed him the truth.
They showed him how listening to Wormtoungue’s whisperings would never lead him to what he desired (peace for his people and kingdom). In other words, they showed the King what he wanted…
… and then showed him how to get it.
They didn’t lie. And they didn’t have to.
And for that wriggling worm Grima who lied and lurked in shadows while muttering under his breath… let’s just say he lost the King’s favor.
Which brings us to the rub:
Using deception in deceit in your marketing can work for a while. You can certainly pull the veil over your prospect’s and customer’s eye for a time. But once their eyes are unveiled… once they’ve seen the truth, they’re all but certain to banish you from their kingdom and may even actively work against you (by leaving negative reviews, telling people not to buy from you, and the like).
So yes, Gandalf, like Lord of the Rings, in business, good does triumph evil. Do the right thing… and you’ll almost certainly be doing the profitable thing.
So the question arises:
How can we do the right thing?
Obviously this isn’t an essay on morals and ethics. And it’s up to every person to decide what’s “the narrow and straight” for them. But here are a few things I think everyone would agree makes for honest marketing (and most likely more profitable marketing in the long run too):
Hopefully this helped you understand that you don’t have to use hype or sleazy tactics in your marketing.
And to learn more honest persuasion principles that Gandalf and friends would be happy to use, you can download a free copy of my book here:
It teaches you a simple system for writing entertaining and profitable emails. You can read it a few sittings and be using the information inside as early as tonights.