An important part of being a good marketer is understanding why people think the way they do and what it is that influences them. It’s much easier to be a compelling marketer if you can understand exactly what it is that influences, compels and drives your audience. Here are some tips from us on how you can use psychology to influence your consumers and improve your marketing strategies.
If many people are buying/using a certain product, an individual is more likely to use it themselves. Humans are social animals with an inherent need to “fit in” and to use the actions of others as a guide to behaviour. This is why people generally tend to choose companies that have phrases like “most trusted company in the UK” or “voted as no.1 in the UK” – the affirmation that others are using it sets a positive example for others to follow.
Creating a digital community for your customers is one way to “socially herd” individuals- an example of this in action is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that circulated around social media in 2014, raising millions of dollars for The ALS Association charity and a ton of awareness.
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Have you ever heard/seen something for the first time, and then suddenly start noticing it everywhere? Maybe you’d never heard of a Nissan X-Trail before, but when your neighbour bought one, you started seeing them everywhere. It seems that suddenly, everyone drives a Nissan X-Trail and the Nissan X-Trail is preparing for world domination.
This is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. The science behind it is this: your selective attention grabs hold of something when you notice it for the first time, and will then continue to unconsciously search for it, resulting in you noticing it all the time. Your confirmation bias then also kicks in, affirming to you that yes, you are now seeing this new object all the time. However, it’s not that you’re now seeing this new object all the time, it’s just that you’re now noticing this new object all the time.
So what does this mean for marketing? Well, when someone notices your brand or product for the first time, it’s important to help them to see it everywhere- to elicit the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon in them. You can do this by sending consumers targeted emails, engaging with them on social media, and so on. This can hugely increase the chance of them buying your product.
Priming “refers to activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task,” says Psychology Today. Essentially what this means is that people are quicker to recognise something which is semantically linked to another something. For example, people are quicker to recall the word “orange” than “chair” when it is proceeded by the word “apple” because “orange” and “apple” are in the same semantic category.
In terms of marketing, we can use priming techniques to help potential customers remember a brand quickly. Think of the hotel comparison website Trivago. Their slogan is: “Hotel? Trivago.” This primes consumers to automatically think of Trivago when going to compare hotel prices.
Creating an urgency for something causes individuals to act quicker, as they feel that they have to make a decision there and then. For marketing purposes, you want to create a sense of urgency on your website to drive people to make a purchase. This means conveying your product or service as “selling out” or as “limited stock”, or to have discount offers that are ending soon. Make your consumers feel as though there is a deadline, and they’ll be quicker to make a decision about a purchase.
Aid Processing Fluency
In terms of neuroanatomy, your right hemisphere processes information incoming from your left visual field, and your left hemisphere processes information incoming from your right visual field. This is important because your right hemisphere is involved in processing pictorial information, and your left is involved in processing verbal and logic-based information.
So, when designing websites, graphics and adverts, it’s important to consider this and aim to place images and graphics on the left, and written information on the right. This will improve processing fluency for consumers and therefore make it easier for them to digest and evaluate your content.