Most marketers aren’t psychologists, but this does not mean they don’t apply psychological principles to their business efforts to result in successful marketing. Earlier this week we ran through two major psychological principles you could learn from to advance your marketing – utisiling emotion and priming – which you can check out here if you missed it. We’ve got a few more principles of human behaviour up our sleeve to share with you, so that before you jump straight into your marketing you can take a step back and understand the core of human purchasing behaviours which is psychology.
The Principle of Reciprocity
A simple idea itself, reciprocity is purely doing something for someone if they have done something for you. In a study by Cialdini, he found that when restaurant customers were given just the bill, they tipped in accordance with how they believed the service was. However, if they were given one mint, the tip given rose by 3.3%, and with two mints the tip rose to about 20%! Promotional merchandise is just one way of using reciprocity to your favour – in this case, you are giving away something free to your potential customers in the hope that they will then give you something (a sale) in return. Reciprocity really is as simple as that.
Of course, this one is not for every brand, but when done well and not as an empty promise, promoting exclusivity can lead to big rewards. When taking the idea of exclusivity back to psychology, we can look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, where self-esteem lies almost at the very top. This means that should a person’s psychological (food, water, warmth), safety (security), belongingness (intimate relationships, friends) needs are met, at this point a person will have self-esteem needs that need to be fulfilled, which is prestige and a feeling of accomplishment. How can you use this in your marketing? Consider the U.S. Marines campaign which ran with the tagline “The Few. The Proud”. They are exclusive! Similarly, American Express advertised with the tagline “Membership has its privileges”. They mean what they say, and this draws people in.
As this is such a giant topic, we hope you are enjoying these studies and principles and plan on making a part 3 to this article series to cover a few more psychology basics you can include in your marketing to make your efforts go much further!