About two months ago my then 6-year-old daughter sat me down to explain that I needed to buy her a Glow Pet. She calmly explained to me that a glow pet is "the best way to make kids less afraid of the dark," that they're soft, and that they shut off after 20 minutes.
I asked her if the light would make it uncomfortable, or hot, and she explained that no, they're very soft, kids love them, and that they don't get hot.
"How do you know all this?" I asked her.
"It said so on TV," she responded, matter-of-factly.
"Oh, so a TV commercial said you won't be afraid of the dark."
"and you believed it?" I asked her, raising my eyebrows.
"Yyyyeah?" she said, becoming uneasy with my line of questioning.
Isn't it interesting how powerful marketing is? TV commercials are blatantly asking you to buy something, and yet, some are very influential. I heard a radio commercial about an Italian restaurant featuring a series of "customers" talking about how great the service and food is, and was surprised to find Yelp reviews from real customers saying that it hadn't lived up to expectations. I was surprised because even I believed the carefully edited commercial was representing unfiltered feedback, until I realized the source of what I had in my mind of "people said it was great" was actually a paid commercial.
Even product placement -- any product you see on a TV show was not chosen because it's "the best" or the one that the actor prefers, it's there because of a paid marketing agreement between the manufacturer and the program. In other words, it's an advertisement!
In the October issue of Toastmasters Magazine, an advertising copy writer named John Cadley discusses this even more in his article, "Marketing Mind Control" (see page 30). The key is tapping into things people can relate to, people's fears, and emotional needs.
How can you be more persuasive? How can you convince your followers that they need to listen to you? How do you convince them to take the call to action? Once you've mastered this, nothing is stopping you from leading anyone to do anything.
...and yes, in the end, my daughter got her Glow Pet (but I made her save up her own money to buy it).