The Psychology of Marketing: Part 4

Choosing the best option for your company can be an important decision to make. It’s likely you’ll want to get the best deal out there. So, what if I told you companies are deliberately influencing your decision, without you even realising. And it’s not necessarily by telling you the pros of a certain offer. What’s more, is they’re super easy to implement. Perhaps it’s something to consider?  



A similar principle to priming, anchoring techniques provide a baseline from which individuals can judge your offer. It works due to a cognitive bias which causes us to employ a ‘mental shortcut’ where we trust the first piece of information offered over later information.  

This technique only really works with potential customers who are not knowledgeable about your field. However, it can be a strong influence on how prospects interpret subsequent information to sway a decision. Essentially, anchoring helps provide a reference point from which your leads can base any future offers. 

Marketing Application: Obviously, there is a large application for the use of anchoring in price. If you tell a lead, or a lead sees that usually your product costs £100, but you then drop the price to £80, they’re going to think they’ve got a great deal. But the reach doesn’t stop at pricing.  

On a sales call, start with your primary selling point. If you can convince your lead that your product is ground-breaking, then all your subsequent product features will also seem ground-breaking, even if they’re not market leading.  


The Centre-Stage Effect.  

As humans, we have a tendency to choose the middle option. Whether that be the answer in a test, which seat to sit in, or which product to buy. Typically, people will avoid the outer options and choose one in the middle. Teigen (1983) coined this theory from his experiment asking participants to choose a number between 1 and 12. 58.29% of participants chose the numbers 5,6,7 and 8, despite this only accounting for 33% of the choices available.  

This effect has been replicated in many different situations since then, with a preference towards the middle options always represented.  

Marketing Application: Your sales could benefit from using the centre-stage effect. When you present your products, use odd values: 3 or 5 is preferable, but 3 works best. This ensures a clear centre is obvious. Place your most desirable option (that you want prospects to choose) in the middle. You want this to be the sweet spot, where customers get the most value for money. And by stating how amazing this deal, and how great others think this deal is, will only serve to enhance the effect of the middle option. Social influence comes into play to sway your prospects to make the choice you desire.  


The Psychology of Choice 

Context is everything. Framing relies on how information is presented in comparison to alternative options. This theory was introduced by Tversky and Kahneman (1981) when they found that responses to the same problem could be manipulated depending on how the situation was framed. For example, when framed positively, individuals tend to choose this more secure option than when negatively framed. Even if the result is actually exactly the same, other than the wording.  

Marketing Application: Not only does this show the power of words, but that you can influence people’s decisions based on how you frame the information. It is obviously beneficial to boast the benefits of your product over the drawbacks, to set your brand in a good light. Also, consider the phrasing you use on your website and in your marketing content. Do you want people to act in a business manner, or more casually? Reflect this in your tone.  

It may be worth using split tests to identify what your audience responds to best. Is it more effective to use personal language or phrase it very business-like? You could also use them to identify whether framing things in a positive light helps your readers spot the clear gain on offer. 


Consider these principles when making sales calls, in your marketing materials, and your brand voice, to influence leads to perceive your brand the way you desire. Take into consideration the cognitive biases which dictate human behaviour and use them to your favour.

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