Using Marketing Psychology to Improve your Bottom Line

Small changes can make a huge difference to the impact of your marketing campaigns. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the most meaningful impact. Marketing psychology is one of those little things. It can have a huge impact on your bottom line. With the vast majority of buying decisions motivated by the needs of Maslow’s hierarchy, it’s important that marketers have a basic understanding of psychology.

One part of being a great marketer is understanding how (and why) people think and act the way they do. It is very difficult to create compelling content if you don’t know why it would be compelling in the first place.

Here are a number of psychological principles that should be utilized by your marketing team:

Build a Tribe

Everyone likes to feel like they belong, which is why most of us identify with a particular group, community or belief. In psychology, this is known as social identity theory.

But, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to like you, and people-pleasing behaviour can actually neutralize how others respond to you. They don’t see you as an ally or as a threat – they just see an amorphous blob in the middle- basically, they become indifferent to your behaviours.

People are influenced by a number of different factors when making purchasing decisions. Of course, they’re influenced by information and objective facts. The objective information is often outweighed by emotional or psychological factors.

Studies have shown emotional and psychological appeals resonate more with consumers than features and function appeals. In advertising copy, benefits which often have a psychological component – generally outsell features.

Taking Apple as an example of a brand who have gone from brand to social identity, and built a tribe of loyal customers. About the same time as Steve Jobs was creating the early Apple products, social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner were developing the social identity theory. For Apple, building a cult-like following required using one of Tajfel’s research finding: ‘it is ridiculously simple to divide people into groups and create a rivalry.’

The bottom line here is not to try and market to everyone, know your target market and build a loyal tribe.

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Be Generous

We all love free things.

When people receive something for free, even when if it isn’t particularly valuable, they feel indebted to you and want to return the favour.

As a business, you can create something valuable then give it away and build trust with your customers. The customer responds by joining a mailing list or by buying a product.

Leverage Social Proof

Have you ever been in a situation that you didn’t know what the correct course of action was? Of course, you have, haven’t we all?

And we all have common reactions to these situations – we observe the actions of those around us, then follow suit as we assume this is the ‘correct’ behaviour in that given situation. In psychology, this is known as social proof, a form of conforming.

Here are several ways you can guide your audience to take the desired action by using social proof:

  1. Testimonials
    Candid and unedited customer testimonials make you more credible. Make sure to include the customers’ name and a picture were possible.
  2. Social Sharing
    In today’s digital market, having a strong social presence is seen as a sign of a credible business. A high number of social shares and email subscribers are often seen as signals of your popularity and let other consumers know that you are a brand to be trusted.
  3. Media Coverage
    Although the importance of media coverage has somewhat diminished over the last number of years, having a strong presence in the media is still a factor that comes into play when communicating to an audience. Getting noted on popular publications will build trust with your target audience.

Avoid Loss

Take Spotify as an example, you sign up for a free month’s trial and have access to an unlimited amount of music at the touch of a button. After that free month is up, the majority of trials continue on as a customer. People do not like to lose what they have already gained.

The vast majority of marketers aren’t psychologists. But many successful marketer regularly employ psychology in appealing to consumers. The above should always be considered, whether you are at the beginning of a new campaign or are marketing a new product.


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