As I am reading the book "Influence" about marketing and manipulation, I am wondering if that's of any relevance to writing papers.
One of the first points is the efficiency of trying to push onto the client, first, something that he will probably refuse, then, something more acceptable. Compared to starting right off with the final suggestion without the preliminary phase, this is much, much more successful (for some experiements the success rate goes from 20% to 50% or so). Can we imagine something similar for marketing a paper?
For example, in the introduction, to present the results it might be a good strategy to first expose the weaker results. The reviewer, reading that, thinks: "Well, this paper is not good enough to be accepted" -- but then, at the end of the introduction, suddenly, here come significantly stronger results. Then the reviewer might think: "Wow. This paper is actually much stronger than I thought at first!" Is this a better marketing strategy than starting right off with one's main result?
I must say that it goes against the way in which I write, the way in which my coauthors write, and the way in which I teach my students to write. I always try to go for the straightforward statement, going to the main point as quickly and with as much clarity as possible. But if I believe this book, it is possible that papers that put more thought into the marketing perspective are much more successful at selling themselves, independently of the results themselves and of how well the paper is written from terms of readability, clarity, etc. That's a disturbing thought!