To look at how consumers think, reason, feel, and select their choices is to look at the psychology of marketing. Take a look at the Christmas adverts that have been released over the past week – the fact that most are designed to tug on the heartstrings means that the advertisers’ aim was to trigger an emotional response from their consumers. It could be argued that a brand’s success is contingent on their capability of influencing their customer’s behaviours and if this is the case, then there is a great deal of psychology to consider. In this article series, we plan to take you through some of the fundamental basics of psychology behind marketing, and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Robert Rosenthal once said that “The vast majority of marketers aren’t psychologists. But many successful marketers regularly employ psychology in appealing to consumers. Smart, skilful, honest marketers use psychology legally, ethically and respectfully to attract and engage consumers, and compel them to buy.”
As we mentioned above, emotional marketing resonates with consumers far more than feature and function appeals, with a clear example being most Christmas adverts. If you can understand how powerful emotion can be, and then incorporate this into your marketing, it is likely that you will see more success in your campaigns.
Priming is a psychological term where you expose an individual or a group of individuals to one stimulus, and this, in turn, affects how you respond to another stimulus. For a psychological example, we could highlight what Psychology Today showed, which is that if you have two groups and you show group A the word ‘yellow’ and then the word ‘sky’ and group B the word ‘yellow’ and then the word ‘banana’, group B will recognise the word ‘banana’ quicker than group A will recognise the word ‘sky’ because people have already formed a previous association between the fruit and its colour. How can you use priming in your marketing, you may be wondering? If you can incorporate priming techniques into your marketing you could influence your customers’ buying behaviours. For instance, Mandel & Johnson (2002) in their paper titled ‘When web pages influence choice: effects of visual primes on experts and novices’, found that when you manipulate the background layout of a website, this can have a “significant influence on consumer choice”. Mandel & Johnson (2012) asked participants to choose between two products in one category e.g. a cheaper and more expensive sofa, and when participants were primed with money (i.e. the website design was green with pennies on it) the participants looked at the price information of the sofas for longer than those who had been primed on comfort. The same effect was found for cars in terms of money and safety.
In our opinion, we think that this is pretty interesting, as there is clear research on how your website can influence purchasing decisions. Later this week we will be going through a few more fundamentals of the psychology of marketing and how your business can benefit from it.