Ever wonder why some products sell better than others? Why some copy converts at 10x levels, while other efforts fall flat? Why one product gets rave reviews, but another is barely mentioned, despite decent sales?
Marcus Clarke has a blog at Psysci.co.uk that blends psychology and science to deliver interesting insights on why we do the things we do (he also has some fantastic riddles/brain twisters that are fun and funny). He offered to share an article he’d written about influencing prospects and customers, and we thought this would be a good fit to share with the Brandscaping audience:
Marketing Psychology: 7 Strategies to Influence Consumers
Marketing and psychology are unlikely partners that allow businesses to utilize techniques from both fields in order to influence customers into buying products or services. Psychology allows a greater understanding into human behaviour, which in turn allows for marketing practices which apply the theory of human inclination and tendencies to real-world applications for various reasons. An underlying principle to successful marketing is the ability to influence consumers. Below are seven strategies to influence consumers in ways that are rooted in fundamental principles of human psychology.
- Appeal to their emotions
Products that are shown as having the potential to improve one’s life are typically favoured over products that are advertised as serving a certain function. This blog post explains the effect of various emotions on our brain and how these can be used to appeal to a consumer’s ability to make decisions. In short, the use of marketing to evoke an emotional response – particularly strong feelings of happiness or sadness –can go a long way in influencing a consumer to buy your product or service.
- Convince customers that you are meeting a need of theirs
Another strategy to influence consumers is by convincing them that you are meeting a need of theirs. Products advertised as durable, good quality and useful are more likely to attract the attention of consumers who are weary of wasting their hard-earned money on products that do not meet their needs.
- Grab the customer’s attention
In today’s age of social media marketing, it can be difficult to grab the consumer’s attention amidst the overwhelming amount of information and visuals. By committing to high-quality content and strategies, such as effective distribution of marketing materials and subtle branding that again appeals to emotions, businesses can ensure their product or service stands out heads above their competition in influencing the consumers.
- Appeal to their sense of compliance
Cognitive dissonance occurs in a situation where conflicting behaviours, attitudes or beliefs arise. This produces feelings of discomfort, which then leads to people feeling a need to alter their attitude or behaviour in order to restore control. Once customers have committed to a product or organization, they are forced to continue demonstrating their commitment or face the inner conflict of not following through with a commitment. When applied to marketing, cognitive dissonance can be used to influence customers by getting them to commit to small requests such as filling out a form, subscribing to a mailing list or following the brand or product on social media. This initial commitment encourages further obligations and more sales in the future.
Believe it or not, the principle of influencing consumers through sheer overload has been around since as early as 1885. Although quality content and subtlety in advertising can be very effective, this age-old method of inundating marketing platforms such as billboards, television and magazine advertisements, and even radio can be very effective in influencing consumers – see Thomas Smith’s advertising frequency theory of 1885 that satirically describes the psychology behind this marketing technique that still holds true today.
Regan’s reciprocity experiment is another marketing technique that emphasises the human inclination to feel indebted when things are given to them. Reciprocal behaviour applies to many aspects of human interaction – especially to relationships and business practices – and can be very effective in influencing consumers. For example, techniques such as free samples encourage consumers to return the favour by staying loyal to the product or service while also sharing the value they gain with other potential customers.
Social pressure in group settings has been known to influence people into conforming to the majority opinion even when they disagree. The Solomon Asch experiment proves this tendency by showing that most participants imitate the opinion of the majority even when they are aware of the fact that it is the incorrect choice. In terms of marketing, the psychology of conformity implies that large numbers of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and even customer testimonials lend a product or service a certain sense of credibility and influence.
In conclusion, principles of psychology including conformity, human nature and emotion, reciprocity and compliance can be used in marketing to generate a greater measure of influence over both existing and potential consumers. Research shows that the potential of marketing techniques with psychological reasoning remain paramount to creating a lasting and significant influence over consumers.
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources that are interesting and insightful and often help people on the right track to improving their lives.