I’ve seen a few articles lately talking about “psychological tricks” and “motivation hacks” to get people to do things and enhance motivation.
Creating a plan and process to guide your audiences’ behaviors toward your business goals WHILE rewarding them for making those changes isn’t “tricking” anyone. This isn’t about pulling the wool over someone’s eyes or getting them to act in conflict with their own values and desires.
There is nothing unethical or duplicitous about incentive and influence programs. No different than a great marketing advertisement that helps frame and influence consumers to choose one product over another isn’t inherently unethical.
Can they be used unethically? Sure. But that is more of a comment on the user, not the tool.
Running an incentive program is not trickery. Incentives are a valid marketing tool and when used ethically achieve the goals of the sponsor and the audience.
These programs aren’t tricks. The word “tricks” communicates the audience isn’t part of the process. The audience is always (or should always be) in on the plan.