Message as a question

Frame your message as a question: “Have you considered why so many people are switching to our brand from the competition?”


  •  Intuit’s TurboTax software asks “Who wouldn’t want full representation in case of a random audit?” in order to sell you their $60 audit defense service. The implicit answer is “Only crazy people wouldn’t want it – so get it now!”


Some surveys are not what they seem. Instead of asking questions in order to gain opinions, they disguise a message as a question in order to change opinions. These surveys are called push polls because of their habit of pushing respondents towards a viewpoint.

Push polling works because raises awareness of issues that people may not have previously considered, regardless of whether the issues are real or fake. It subtly slips emotions into something that people expect to be rational. It creates cognitive dissonance, which people will seek to remove either by ignoring what they hear or by changing their perspective. This misinformation works its way deep into people’s minds and blends with their actual memories of events.

How to use push polling

  • Lead with a question that puts doubt about your competitors into customers’ minds, for instance “Have you considered why more people are switching to our brand from the competition?”
  • Provide a reason to buy your product as part of the push question. “Could it be because [insert fear mongering trait we can resolve]?”
  • The question doesn’t have to be based in fact. “What would you do if you learned your current antivirus product wasn’t fully protecting you? Try our antivirus, antimalware and antispyware all-in-one for full protection.” It’s enough to raise the question, regardless of the actual abilities of the questioned product.
  • If possible, avoid naming competitors directly. Just disparaging the competition isn’t useful, makes you look petty, and gives them an extra brand impression.