What can a man who lived 2300 years ago possibly teach us about marketing?

Well, if his name is Aristotle, then an awful lot! Aristotle lived in an ancient time well before electricity, let alone internet and mobile technology. But he still had the art of marketing down pat. In fact, his theories on persuasion are referenced as some of the most influential ideas ever written.

So let’s look at what this ancient gent can teach us about marketing in our modern world.

The Three Aspects Of Persuasion

Aristotle believed that every argument needed three pillars to be persuasive - ethos, pathos and logos. Together they form a powerful argument that is very hard to say no to.


Ethos is about credibility. Why your audience should believe in you. If they can’t trust you, then why would they listen to what you have to say, no matter how logical your arguments are.

That means that before you can begin to sell your services, you need to take the time to earn the trust of your prospective clients. The business people that are the most successful are the ones that have taken the time to build their reputation. They have provided valuable content for their audience and have established ongoing great service.

So the first step of persuasive marketing is to ensure that your brand has a great reputation and that you are positioned well in your industry. The best way to do this is to identify the problems of your clients and solve them with your products and services. This will prove your authority and the fact you can be trusted.


Pathos means appealing to the emotions of your clients. Persuasion does not only rely on reason and logic, our emotions definitely come into play because we are emotional beings. To connect with a marketing message, you need to make your audience feel something. The emotion itself will depend on what you are trying to achieve, but it has to be something - happiness, anger, sadness, relief.

You can achieve this in your marketing by telling compelling stories. Tell about journeys, characters, conflicts. Anything that will capture the imagination and emotion of your audience. Always be on the hunt for stories you can tell about yourself, your business, your clients and your successes.


The last piece of the equation is the logic and reason that logos brings. Logos is probably the most persuasive component of an argument, but will not work without the other two aspects.

If you only discuss the features of your products and services, people may not understand just what those features can mean for them. So by using logos to prove the benefits, they will be able to make an educated decision on buying.

When marketing your products and services, show the logic behind them. Explain to your audience exactly what your products and services can do, show them a demonstration video, or showcase testimonials from happy clients. This will show your prospective clients the reason they should invest in you.

As you can see, Aristotle’s approach of combining three key aspects will help develop a very persuasive argument. So when you are creating a pitch, ensure you combine all three to create something that is hard to say no to.