Marketing is one of the most personal and inherently human of all business-related activities. Marketers need to be keen students of psychology if they are to effectively entice and persuade members of the audiences they target.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to acquire an advanced degree to use psychology effectively as a marketer. Become familiar with how the following five psychological realities impact the work of marketing and you will produce more impressive results.
- Perception is Everything
Some products can seem so inherently desirable and appealing to the alternatives that marketing them should be simple. How a marketer perceives a product or service, though, will often not align at all with the views of potential buyers.
Marketers have to put aside their personal biases and learn about how others perceive their offerings. From beauty product consumer perception studies to automotive product panel testing, there are many ways to identify and detail these inherently subjective judgments.
Once some feeling for the perception a product meets with has been developed, informed work on shaping it can follow. Failing to establish a baseline regarding product perception is one of the most common reasons for wasting large amounts of marketing time and other resources.
- Priming is Powerful
Consumers never arrive at conclusions in a vacuum. How they are primed, guided, and directed by marketers will always be important.
Effective use of priming will mean being able to build a more psychologically persuasive case. Marketers who develop a talent for leveraging priming become able to develop more cohesive, natural-feeling campaigns and tactics.
A properly primed consumer will become more open to a marketing message than would otherwise be achievable. While effective priming alone will never make for a successful marketing push, it can only help.
- People Value Reciprocity
Many people feel that marketers are overly manipulative and demanding. Measures like the Index of Consumer Sentiment on Marketing regularly highlight dissatisfaction among people from all walks of life.
One of the reasons consumers take a dim view of marketing is that they feel it tends to be one-sided. It can seem as if consumers are being asked to give away precious time and attention to marketers without receiving anything in return.
Marketing campaigns that do a better job of making a case for their inherent value tend to put such grievances to rest. When consumers feel like a more reciprocal relationship has been established, they become more receptive to marketing.
- Scarcity is an Effective Motivator
Although modern life tends to be comfortable for most, people are naturally tuned to survive under harsh conditions. Sensing that a desirable resource is scarce will give rise to feelings of urgency that can be difficult to resist.
Marketers who become adept at inducing perceptions of scarcity tend to struggle less than others with provoking action from audiences. Although such tactics can easily be overused, they often prove effective when wielded subtly and sparingly.
- Clustering is Common
The human mind is not the purely analytical machine some would like it to be. Most people habitually arrive at judgments and conclusions via fairly fuzzy, amorphous processes.
Most often, a phenomenon known as clustering helps simplify what would otherwise be intractably complex mental calculations. Feelings and perceptions become aggregated in ways that make the resulting units easier for the mind to work with. Marketers who learn how to take advantage of clustering make things easier on themselves.
Keep the five principles above in mind when marketing, and you will become more effective at it. While there are other ideas worth becoming familiar with, the five psychological facts above are central to most marketing approaches.