Psychology and Marketing


What marketing psychology predicts is buyer behaviour and how certain biases that are ingrained within us will influence our behaviour. Innate biases largely influence our decision-making processes and understanding these biases will allow marketers to increase their sales.


One of the first people to apply psychological principles to increase sales was Edward Bernays. Bernays used some of the psychological techniques developed by his revered Uncle Sigmund Freud to devastating effect.


We all like to think of ourselves as utterly unique. We aren’t. As the founding fathers of psychology, Freud, Carl Jung, etc discovered there are a number of rocks upon which all humanity is built upon. Our unconscious psyches are privy to these biases and smart digital marketing will use these biases to devise a more effective digital marketing plan.


Modern digital marketing should capitalize on all the knowledge we have in relation to the mind and should use this knowledge to optimise campaigns, create more effective copy, and drive consumers towards making a purchase.


In this blog post, I will explore some of the psychological techniques that you can use to increase your profits and conversions.

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Building trust will be a cornerstone of consumer behaviour psychology

consumer behaviour psychology

One of the first things that any self-respecting marketer needs to build up is trust. If people don’t trust your brand, you’re going to lose out. So how can you build up some credibility?


You need to show people titles, achievements, recommendations as these will help build up your brand as one that can be trusted. If you’re creating an image to sell a brand, use the image of someone who looks trustworthy and reliable.


For example, people loved former US President Barack Obama because he looked trustworthy, he looked kind, he looked like he cared and he said all the right things.  The image Obama projected allowed him to drop bombs on the middle east at a record rate.


They rewarded Obama with the Nobel Peace prize even though he started wars in Syria, Libya, and nearly kicked off world war three with Russia over Ukraine. In psychological terms, people fell for Obamas persona. His image allowed him to butcher his way across the middle east without hardly an eyebrow being raised.


The serial killer Ted Bundy is another example of this. Hundreds of women turned up at his murder trial and cooed, “He doesn’t look like a murderer”, “He’s soo cute.” Bundy even fathered a child in prison to one of the thousands of besotted women who adored him despite him being one of America’s most prolific serial killers.  


With marketing and with life, people cannot see past the image. If you’re selling something, use someone who looks trustworthy, use someone who is good-looking, use someone who smiles at the camera and you can literally sell the masses anything. 

price psychology marketing

Social proof is key to psychology and marketing

psychology and marketing

If people see lots of people liking a particular product, they will automatically assume that it’s a wonderful product.


One tactic that marketing companies use is they hire people to like particular posts because this will increase the chances of consumers making a purchase. When people see a load of likes their reaction is something like, “Oh, this must be good!” but what they cannot grasp is that the likes and rankings of the product may have been artificially boosted.


There is an excellent reason TV shows use canned laughter, this is because once people hear other people laughing they will be more inclined to laugh themselves. If people see someone else doing something, the chances are they will end up doing the same thing.


Basically, what I’m talking about here is “the sheep effect!” Once you get a few people to like something the rest will follow like a dutiful pack of sheep.

Marketing psychology will utilise the scarcity principle and the sense of urgency tactic

If you want to get consumers to make a purchase, you need to push them into making a decision. You need to pretend that the item is in outrageous demand and that you don’t have enough supply to meet the demand. 


Even though your warehouse may be full to the brim with whatever product you’re trying to sell, you need to tell them that there are only a few items left. This tactic will invoke the scarcity principle. Once people think something is running out they will come flocking like a pack of lemmings getting ready to jump off a cliff.


A basic tactic that marketing companies use is that they sell products under the banner of “limited number available” “selling fast” or they will have a deadline before the offer expires. What you’re trying to do is to force the consumers into making a decision.

consumer psychology marketing

The weather can have a tremendous influence on consumer behaviour

consumer behaviour psychology

You should try to tailor your marketing promotions to when the weather is looking promising. Studies suggest that on gloomy days we are more risk-averse and so are far less likely to make a purchase than when it would be a sunny day.


Depending on what particular area you’re targeting you should look up the weather forecast and push your product whenever it looks like its going to be a sunny day.

The psychology of marketing will understand the importance of the fresh start effect

The fresh start effect plays into our regenerative desires. In life, everyone goes through hard spells and marketers can play into effect to increase their profits.


One tactic marketers  use is promising something new. For example, incorporating words like “starting off a new week…year, month, etc.”  Will all play into this regenerative effect.


 In the 1990s,  the political party Labour, in England, played into this regenerative effect by rebranding Labour as “New Labour” and this simple tactic resulted in spectacular success at the polls.


The fact is, the idea of newness and starting from a blank slate has a huge potential to sell goods and products and all good marketers should strive to exploit this desire to increase their profits.

Words are powerful in marketing

marketing and psychology

There are certain words that have the power to influence us just by their very mention. One of these words is “god” which has a powerful effect on the human psyche.


Other power marketing words you should try to incorporate into your marketing strategy are words like “Free”, “Love”, “Save”, “Passion” “New” and much more.


 These words have the power to evoke feelings and when we are invoking the right feelings in people, we are increasing the chances of making a sale.

Using the comparison principle is a key component of consumer behaviour psychology

marketing psychology

What’s better: wearing a seatbelt in a car and saving yourself from serious injury or not wearing one and possibly breaking your neck in a crash? What’s better: Spending 5€ on a box of condom or not wearing one and having to pay hundreds of thousands of euros over a lifetime?


This strategy is often used whereby discounted prices are crossed out and the new prices are inserted in instead.


Another way to describe this tactic is the false comparison tactic.


This technique can help enhance how appealing your goods will look to consumers.

consumer psychology marketing

The competency effect

We associate certain countries with certain competencies. For example, when we read “made in Germany” usually our mind thinks of reliability and quality.


 Another example of this is if whiskey was “made in Ireland” many people would automatically assume that the whiskey must be a good one because Ireland, rightly or wrongly, is associated with hard drinkers.


Whilst these stereotypes might insult some people, they can have a very positive effect if you’re selling a product that plays right into one of these stereotypes.

The consistency principle is a key aspect of consumer behaviour psychology

consumer behaviour psychology

If a user comes on to your website and you track how far they are in the buying process, and you show them how far they are in the buying process, the odds are they will be far more likely to make a purchase.


The consistency principle is based on the theory that once someone is shown how far they have come in a particular process, they will be more likely to keep going and make the purchase.  


If a consumer is only one step away from making the purchase, the odds are that they will continue on and will finalise the purchase.


People like to be consistent in their beliefs, and when you can back up these beliefs and actions with actual images you will make the chances of them making a purchase far more likely.

The humour effect  is integral to the psychology of marketing

Humour makes things easier to remember and provokes people to like and share a particular image or brand. Some tricks that can be used include satire, parody, and putting celebs in uncomfortable situations.  


Whilst trying to sprinkle an element of humour in your marketing tactics, you shouldn’t just include humour for humour’s sake. The best humour will know to incorporate the humour but will tailor-make this humour so that it increases the chances of making a sale.

In the psychology of marketing, simplicity is key

psychology of marketing

If you look at all the world top brands, their message is very simple. The copywriting that they use is effective because it speaks in the language that most of their customer base will be using.


For example, if you’re trying to sell a product to working-class people and you’re using academic language in your text, the chances of you making a sale will be diminished. 


If you write copy in a straightforward and transparent fashion people will be more likely to make a purchase from you.

Digital marketing and psychology will use the endowment effect

The endowment effect is when the value of an object increases once someone has had it in their possession.


 For example, if you offer someone a free trial of a particular product or service they will be far more likely to subscribe to that service or product in the long run.


For example, if someone holds something in their hands they will be far more likely to want to keep the product than if they had never had it in their hands.


Some ways you can leverage the endowment effect are:


 *Offering a free trail or a free sample.

 *Allowing people to touch the product.

 *Allowing customers to visualise what the product would look like if they had it in their possession.

Price psychology marketing will reduce user options

price psychology marketing

One area that many websites make an error in is in offering too many options for people. If people are overloaded with information they will be less likely to make a purchase.


A minimalist approach reduces the stress on the consumer and increases the likelihood of them making a purchase. The fact is, the choice overload will have a detrimental effect on your conversion rate.


So how can you adopt a minimalist approach? For example, instead of offering 3 or 4 different price options, you could offer only two different price options.

consumer psychology marketing

Psychology and marketing will use the halo effect

This is where a positive impression in one area of your company can influence users in other areas of your company. For example, we see lots of companies taking political stances, such as BLM, anti-racism, and save the environment and the reason they are doing this is that these political stances can increase the bottom line. Profits.


You often see companies around Christmas time make donations to some charity and then publicising these donations in the media. Your average person on street would think “Aww, aren’t they great donating X amount of money to such a worthwhile cause.” 


Not only are these companies leveraging these donations for increased profits in other areas of their companies, but they are also getting the donations written off under tax exemptions.


So from the companies perspective, everything is a win-win. People will associate the company with a noble cause, that in reality, they don’t care about. This is how the halo effect operates.

Consumer behaviour psychology will use the reciprocity rule

This rule works because once you give someone something, they automatically feel that they must give you something back. One tactic is to give out free samples to customers.


Once someone has received a free sample, they will be more inclined to give something back (ie) their hard-earned cash to appease this desire to reciprocate.


Other ways that this tactic can be utilised is by offering free trials, free advice, free e-books, free checklists, etc, etc. Once you are giving someone something for “free” then the chances of you getting the person to make a purchase will be greatly increased.

The innovation biases

People love being the first of the kind in using a new product and if you can place your product as being “new”, “revolutionary”, “the first of its kind” people will be more likely to use this product.  We know this as the pro-innovation bias.


Even if the new product has many faults, people will overlook these faults and will focus on many of the perceived benefits.

Check out these other blogs on marketing persuasion legal digital marketing , digital marketing tipsSEO marketing and outsourcing content creation.

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