The Psychology of Marketing: Part 1

When writing content, it’s easy to just write without any consideration for what response it will evoke in your audience. But marketing is all about evoking a response. You’re trying to grab your leads’ attention, convince them of one thing or another.

Human behaviour is a complicated, multi-faceted construct, but it’s also predictable (to a point). Our emotions have the potential to strongly influence our choices. Sometimes without us even noticing. It is definitely an aspect which we should capitalise on as marketers. Adding some psychological techniques into our marketing materials isn’t going to hurt. It’s worth a shot if it will boost the effectiveness and engagement of our content.

So, let me introduce you to our newest big idea. A series of blogs to investigate the role psychology has to play in marketing. We will consider how psychological theories and techniques can be applied in marketing to influence prospects behaviour in your favour.

 

Mere-Exposure Theory

The more you see something, even without any interaction, the more you like it. Or so that’s how the theory goes. In 1992 a study was run which demonstrated this effect perfectly. Four different women attended a college class a varying number of times. They didn’t interact at all, simply sat in on the class. One woman didn’t attend any classes, one attended 5 times, one attended 10 times, and one attended 15 times. After all this, the students were given pictures of each woman and asked to rate them on a range of likeability scales. And who did the students prefer? You’ve probably guessed where this is going. The woman who attended all 15 sessions was rated far more positively than the woman who never turned up.

What’s more, studies by Zajonc concluded that the mere-exposure effect can occur without any conscious cognition! This means that whilst leads may not be aware of any company preference, it’s likely they will be more susceptible when they have been primed through previous company observations.

Marketing Application: Get out there and be seen. Keep up a constant presence on social media channels to ensure your leads will recognise your name! And don’t be afraid to repeat your message! If it’s important, shout about it. Make sure people remember your message.

 

Foot-in-the-door technique

This one you may have heard of, it’s a common tactic in the world of sales. Start by asking a small favour. When this request is granted, ask for your actual (bigger) request. People are more likely to listen and respond to your big request when preceded by a small ask. Freedman and Fraser (1966) found that when they called to houses asking for a petition to be signed, those that agreed were 3 times more likely to agree to the larger request a few days later, of displaying a sign in their window. Or 4 times more likely when the request was related to the first.

Marketing Application: In marketing terms, what does this mean? Well, a common tactic is asking the lead for some information. Perhaps their email address, name or position in their company, it’s only a small request. From this, you’re able to contact that lead again, if nothing else, but it gives you a headstart in asking your big request. For the lead to become a customer. Your phrasing may be different, but that’s essentially where you’re leading your prospect.

 

Clustering

Humans are notoriously bad at remembering long lists of items. Just think about how you remember your phone number. Perhaps it’s 5 digits, 3 digits, 3 digits. Or maybe 5 digits, followed by 2, then 2, then 2. It’s unlikely you remember the entire string of numbers in one go. You cluster numbers together to make it easier to remember.

When we recall information from our long-term memory, our memories are naturally clustered together in relatable groups. So, it’s logical that when we’re committing information to memory, we do so in sections. That way, items in the same category will be retained for better recall.

Additionally, Miller (1956) found that statistically, humans only remember 7 pieces of information (plus or minus 2) in one go. As a result of our low information retention, clustering data together into similar groups improves our memory.

Marketing Application: When you’re creating your marketing content, group resource topics together. Not only will it make your resources easier to organise and navigate, but it will be more memorable down the line. Use this technique within resources as well. Organise your facts and points into sections. Use bullet points or various sub-headings, so that in your memory all the facts are stored in relatable groups.

 

You can start small. Mix up how you write an email or get your name out there on social media, see if it helps your strategy. Pick and choose what will help your company succeed. Stay tuned for our next edition coming end of July.


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