The Psychology of Marketing: Part 3

How often have you done something and then wondered what pushed you in that direction? Towards one brand over another. Perhaps you’d seen the brand before or conformed to the expectations of the situation, or maybe you wanted to repay someone for their help previously. Or perhaps it just seemed like a really great deal. Something influenced your decision to sway towards that particular option over another. Psychologists have made it their life’s work to define what that may be, and the theory lying behind it. Marketing teams can learn a lot from the psychological phenomenon’s which occur in everyday life, and how they can boost any marketing strategy.



Consider first, the effect of priming. When exposure to one stimulus affects your response to a subsequent stimulus. Resulting from the activation of particular associations, it’s all about creating links. For example, if someone was shown the word ‘Yellow’, they would recognise the word ‘banana’ far faster because the two words are so closely associated in memory.

But priming isn’t all about word association, it can also influence later behaviour. Studies have found that talking to a consumer about a particular aspect of a product, rather than the product itself, can cause the buyer to purchase the product better suited for that aspect.

Marketing Application: Using subtle priming techniques you can create links and associations with your brand, helping leads remember key information, and perhaps even influence their buying behaviour down the line. By discussing and promoting principles related to your brand, will prime them towards investing in a company which can provide that service. For example, our sales team may discuss the benefit of a CRM integration, and then down the line, the prospect is likely to seek out a platform which is best suited for this.

Reciprocity Principle

You’ll likely have been a victim of reciprocity without even realising. Introduced by Cialdini in his book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’, the reciprocity principle refers to the desire to ‘return the favour’. When you do something nice for someone, they’ll likely want to do something nice for you back. So how have you succumbed previously? Ever got a mint with your bill at a restaurant? Yep, well it turns out the more mints provided, the higher the tip tends to be.

Marketing Application: Offer something of value to your leads. Think of an Expo. Everyone is giving away something, whether it’s a pen or a cuddly toy. You feel obliged to at least talk to the company before taking the item offered. Implement this principle across your marketing and sales strategies. It can be as easy as offering an expert opinion in the form of a guide or whitepaper. Just make sure you’re offering something first before expecting anything in return.

Confirmation Bias

When you have a strong desire for something to be true, you often search for, interpret and recall information in a way which supports your belief. So essentially, you will remember the information you favour and discard the information which suggests the contrary. This disjointed rationale can be the encouragement needed to convince a lead of the benefit your brand can provide.

Marketing Application: When you know your customers, you can focus on what they are looking to get from you. Once you’ve started the conversation, prove how excellent your brand is in this particular aspect. Provide examples to support how you can achieve the aims of your leads. Then, once they’ve started considering you as the answer for their needs, they will look for every other reason which supports this decision.

Considering how you structure your conversations can influence how your lead will respond. Gearing up by discussing a particularly great aspect of your marketing can make your lead look out for it in their considerations. And offering something of value will make them far more responsive. Try adding some theory into your discussions, and follow up with a purl to track where your leads interests point.

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