Marketing Psychology: 15 Revealing Principles of Human Behavior

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Understanding how (and why) people think and act the way they do is one of the most essential aspects of being a great marketer. If you don’t understand why something would be fascinating to your target audience in the first place, it’s significantly harder to produce compelling content marketing.

Before diving into the tactical nitty-gritty of marketing, it’s vital to comprehend how customers think and operate. This is essentially what the discipline of psychology aims to explain.

Understanding some basic principles of psychology can take your marketing from good to great, as the appropriate audience is reading and identifying with it (and most likely converting on it, too).

You should understand the following lessons about psychology to assist you attract, persuade, and convert more individuals with your promotion.

Psychology & Marketing: Key Concepts of Psychology Marketers Need to Understand:

1) The Familiar is Preferred

Humans are naturally drawn to the familiar. Being able to relate is often the most essential factor in making somebody feel comfortable with you. If they discover that you are talking about subjects that are near and dear to their heart, it’s likely that they’re going to empathize with your posts, even if on some level they disagree.

2) The Ordinary is Realistic

When people buy something, they desire an item which actually functions for them on some level. They do not wish to take dangers or waste time attempting something never before heard of– especially when it comes to items like food and medication (and anything else where security may be compromised). Anything new, unknown, or untested meets instant suspicion from customers.

3) The Unexpected Involves Uncertainty

When you are familiar with an item, but the thing is something new to your audience, all of a sudden it seems interesting. This is why trailers of upcoming films will always include footage that isn’t even in the movie itself– simply because it’s unexpected and everyone enjoys it.

4) Curiosity Lingers on Unanswered Questions

If you don’t have time or resources to reply all your reader’s questions on every blog post, point them towards another piece of content on your website– or encourage them to sign up for updates on some other page so they can see whether their question has actually

5) Our Tendency Towards Loss Aversion

If you’re selling something that has actually lost value or become obsolete, it’s likely to go unsold. People desire to feel like they are taking part in an investment– not throwing away their money on something which will be defunct by next week.

6) Consumers Value Time Significantly Over Money

This is why “Free Delivery” appears at the top of so many ecommerce pages (even for items with an extremely high price tag). It’s simply way more enticing than “10% off all watches.” Or even worse, “50% off everything in the store.”

7) Immediate Gratification is Preferred

If there is a choice between choosing A and B, but B takes some time (regardless of how much less time it takes), most people will choose A.

Just look at the popularity of clickbait articles, which promise a great pay-off but take a lot longer to read than a short article on the front page. This is also why so many advertisements for things like loans and mortgages have “instant decision” buttons– they want to appear as though you can act now, even if the consumer has to wait weeks for their loan application to be approved!

8) People Prefer To Stay With What They Know

This is why subscription services like Spotify are growing in popularity (rather than buying CDs or downloading songs individually). You get access to everything (even new releases) without having any further charges your monthly fee has been covered.

9) Consumers Value What They Earn

As you might have guessed, people are more likely to purchase something if they feel like they’ve worked for it. It could be as simple as earning “points” with a credit card towards some future reward, or just purchasing something fairly uncommon online that nobody has heard of.

10) People Tend To Overspend Out Of Regret

They say that hindsight is 20/20– but the opposite is actually even more accurate. When you buy something today and realize tomorrow that its value has dropped significantly, most people will feel regret about not waiting until tomorrow to make their decision. That’s why analysts always warn against impulsive buys , which can often turn out to be terrible investments in the long run.

11) Purchasing Is An Event

People come together, eat snacks, play games– whatever. It’s not just buying something on the internet. People are more likely to purchase if they perceive it as a group event rather than an individual choice– or even worse, a solo one!

12) Anchoring Makes Unrelated Numbers Appear Related

Buying something for $50? A nearby item will often appear cheaper in comparison because of the price tag attached to it (even if that other product is actually worth hundreds). This is why stores put special items on sale near the checkout counter– so you don’t buy them at their initial value .

13) We Tend To Judge Objects On Quality, Not Quantity

If you have two equal products, many people will buy the “better quality” one. This is why so many gadgets advertise their superior warranty or multiyear coverage– not because they think the consumer will use the extra protection (as much as they hope you’ll assume that).

14) People Are More Trusting of Brands

This is why expensive brands tend to charge more than their competitors. It’s also why there are so many celebrity-endorsed products on the market– even if consumers completely disagree with that star’s beliefs. The product itself just becomes an extension of that person for a while, at least until it goes out of vogue .

15) We Tend To Underestimate How Much Of Our Money Spent On Shopping

Since online shopping is so easy to track, you can actually view how much money you’ve spent on Amazon for years– even if you didn’t mean to spend that much. This “mental accounting” is one reason people tend to overestimate how often they shop online , especially since it’s just a couple of clicks required. It may not be as easy or tempting as going out and spending cash at a physical store, but the numbers are there all the same– and adding up fast.

In line with the above concepts psychologists came up with similar principles and gave them specific names.

Psychology and Marketing: The 10 Important Psychological Principles  Marketers Should Use

1. Priming:

Occurs involuntarily when a person’s senses perceive and identify stimuli in his or her environment. As the senses encounter certain sensory cues, past experiences are brought to mind that include thoughts, emotions, and other related bodily sensations.

2. Reciprocity:

When people feel they have been helped by someone, they tend to return the favor by helping them back in some way. This desire to reciprocate can be so strong that we often help someone even when we don’t want to do it… or when we know full well that there is nothing in it for us!

3. Social Proof:

The human tendency to look at others’ behavior and generalize from it about what is normal and appropriate in any given context. For example, you are on a crowded subway car and see that most of the passengers are standing, so you also stand. The concept of social proof is one reason why some companies choose to use testimonials for their advertisements.

4. Decoy Effect:

When buying an item, adding a third option can increase the chance people will go with your first choice (the one you hope they select). For example, imagine three different brands of cars. Car A costs $20,000; Car B costs $30,000; and Car C costs $40,000. Which car would you buy? If you’re like most people in this situation, you’d choose Car A or maybe Car B – but not Car C. However, what if I added another car, Car D, which costs $35,000? Now you are more likely to choose either Car A or Car B – much less likely to choose Car C.

5. Loss Aversion:

People are much more motivated by the opportunity to avoid losses than by the possibility of gaining something of equal value. This is why it makes sense for credit card companies to offer frequent flier miles when you sign up for their cards, but not when you want to take your business elsewhere. Additionally, this is why people tend to go with the default option in many situations (e.g., staying in a job that they don’t like because they worry about taking a pay cut if they lost the security and benefits of that position).

6. The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon:

A phenomenon where you hear or read a new word or phrase and then it seems to appear with much greater frequency. For example, suppose you just heard the word “procrastination” for the first time. You might notice that other people use this word several times throughout the day, when previously you went through your whole day without ever hearing it!

7. Verbatim Effect:

The tendency for information that comes in several small chunks to be more easily remembered than information given all at once (e.g., in one big lump).

8. Clustering Illusion:

We often perceive clusters of random events as meaningfully related. This is similar to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (described above), but while that describes an increased sensitivity to something that’s happening, clustering illusion describes the misperception of random events as meaningfully related.

9. Loss Aversion:

People are much more motivated by the opportunity to avoid losses than by the possibility of gaining something of equal value. This is why it makes sense for credit card companies to offer frequent flier miles when you sign up for their cards, but not when you want to take your business elsewhere. Additionally, this is why people tend to go with the default option in many situations (e.g., staying in a job that they don’t like because they worry about taking a pay cut if they lost the security and benefits of that position).

10. Scarcity:

The human tendency to focus more on a good when it is perceived as being less available. For example, advertisers know that if they can convince you that something won’t be around for very long, you’ll try to get it before it goes away (and thus may be willing to pay more).