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10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Marketing

According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Without understanding psychology, marketing may not have a job. The goal of marketing is to interest a specific audience in a product or a service. The process may include photographs, art work, writing, music, etc. This includes all mediums of reaching people. Without understanding what an audience wants to see or here, marketing has no target…it has no goal. This is where psychology comes into play. It’s where psychology and marketing go hand in hand. Here are ten things to know about the psychology of marketing…

We are surrounded by marketing without even realizing it!

Marketing is everywhere we look. Anything that has been purchased or has the potential to be purchased, has been marketed for your eyes and ears. Most of the time we may not even realize we are being sold something. We may not even realize that something is purposely trying to get our attention. But especially in busy cities, marketing is all around us. There are many forms of marketing and many different reasons why it’s used. We can be sold a product, an experience, an adventure, all forms of music, a property…the list goes on and on.  

Abraham Maslow + Marketing Theories = Mind Blown.

 Abraham Maslow was a specialist in human behavioral psychology. He developed a theory referred to as “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. The hierarchy, which is often visualized as a triangle or pyramid, helps us directly link marketing and psychology. The “pyramid” has five categories. This categories are our basic fundamentals needs as humans. These needs, starting from bottom to top, include:

  • physiological needs
  • safety needs
  • social needs
  • esteem needs
  • self-actualization

When marketers understand the needs of their target audience, they can create the perfect selling point. The pyramid may help someone understand what we need for survival and happiness, based on a sort of scale. For example, someone looking to sell an expensive cologne, is not going to target teenage boys. So on and so forth…

We can be influenced by colors.

 Did you know that there is also a psychology behind colors? Color has an intense impact on our behavior’s and decisions. So you can probably assume that marketing is the perfect chance to take advantage of this. Most people may admit that they focus on visual appearance. They may also admit that color was a big part of why they bought something or took a second glance. Here are some examples of colors and their effect on us psychologically… Red: urgency, desire, excitement, movement, passionBlue: peace, tranquility, reliability, sense of security, productivityGreen: nature, power, health, harmonyPurple: respect, wisdom, creativity, beauty, royaltyBlack: authority, power, stability, strongOrange/Yellow: Happy, optimistic, lightGrey: solidarity, practicalityWhite: safety, purity, cleanliness  

There are key words that may catch our attention.

Word choice is another link between marketing and psychology. Specific, words are chosen to capture our attention and make us want something.We may read these words on a billboard, hear them through a television or a radio, or be told them face-to-face in a sales pitch. We may also read these words on our shampoo bottles, on our food packaging, etc. We may hear them through the phone when being told about a product. However we hear these attempts to rally our attention…we are a specific audience being targeted. Marketers have chosen their audience, learned what they like, embraced their needs, and done the best they can to be relatable and desirable. The words are chosen for those reasons.  

Putting marketing right in front of us works. 

Many studies claim that using visuals for marketing is a psychology based decision. This is because our brains pay attention to visuals. The human brain has a sense called “visual perception.” Our brains use this sense when looking at something. The sense may make us examine surroundings and find reliability in them based off of the past. When using this sense for marketing, pictures, words, colors and photographs are specifically chosen. The visual has to promote the exact right reaction for its chosen audience. It must be relatable, desirable and specific enough to get the job done.  

Eye contact can make the sale.

 Eye contact may help with showing intention. When it comes to the psychology behind marketing, this also rings true. This can mean eye contact with an in-person marketing tactic. For example, making strong eye contact when describing a product or experience. This shows a level of care. This creates a bond. This can also mean using eye contact with a visual form of marketing. For example, a billboard, a cereal box, a magazine ad. You may be more likely to book that trip to Aruba that’s advertised on your computer screen if the happy and smiling couple is looking right at you.  

Anchoring is a sneaky tactic that works.

Sometimes when people aren’t familiar with a topic, they look for something to hold onto. They may look for something to help them feel more knowledgable. In marketing, this is referred to as an anchor. If a customer is out of the loop when it comes to a price, they look for a number to base the product off of. The person attempting to make the sale will toss the customer this anchor. The anchor is specifically chosen so that the sale goes the way they want it to. This is a psychological tactic that works by making the customer more comfortable. Once someone has an anchor, the price can go up or down from there. Smart, right? 

Starting small can lead to something big. 

As we’ve mentioned, there are many different forms of marketing. When it comes to in person marketing tactics, starting small may be a useful tactic. It can be easy to overwhelm a potential customer by starting off with a big sales pitch! Imagine someone in the running for a role in your local town: if they showed up at your front door and asked you to put a big sign on your front lawn, would you say yes? You may be intimidated. If this same person instead knocked on your door with some bumper stickers and a pin, would you say yes to those? If this person came back the next week with a front lawn sign…there is a higher chance of you saying yes this time. This is called starting small. Starting small can lead to something big. Gauging people’s feelings and level of comfort is a big part of marketing.  

If your friends are doing something, you’ll probably do it too.

When you think about it…if your friends like something, you’ll probably like it too. You are friends for a reason. In the world of marketing, this can make sales pitches far easier. Many marketing campaigns tell you to “invite your friends.” This is another psychological link with marketing. Our friends inspire us, relate to us, and often make us like and try new things. Social groups, a link to share something with your friend, a coupon for friends and family, an invite to a marketing based event…all of these are done on purpose. 

Exclusivity makes us more inclined to want something! 

 When we look at another connection between marketing and psychology, we can analyze our egos. A good amount of companies use exclusivity to help market their products and/or experiences. It’s not rocket science that if something is exclusive, we want it more! It’s a ploy that pretty much always works. It is a ploy that works because of our egos. If a company thinks about doing this with their marketing, they can make their customers feel wanted. This may boost sales!  

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