How Important Psychology Is for Your Marketing Campaign
Written by Nick Brown
09 April 2018
In a world where we made all our decisions rationally, there would be no need for marketing whatsoever. All you would ever need is for your price to go ¢1 lower than that of your competitors and you would make the sale every single time. Furthermore, in a scenario where two retailers are selling the same product, the customer would always go with the one offering the lower price, even if they purchased from the other retailer several times in the past six months.
Luckily, human minds are not designed to look everything through numbers or even to constantly compare features. This is what allows for a phenomenon like an impulse buying or brand loyalty to exist. Needless to say, these two are counted amongst the strongest weapons of startups and SMBs in their eternal struggle against their much larger competitors. All of this is made possible through the use of psychology in marketing. Here are a few more things you should know about this.
The first example of just how this works is the good old rule of seven. This traditional marketing principle claims that in order for a random spectator to become a buyer, they have to hear about your brand at least on seven separate occasions. Therefore, you need to put your brand name, your logo and your products out there for everyone to see in order to set your target audience on the buying cycle.
The interesting thing that happens over time is these people becoming familiar with your brand, your product or your services even though they never actually used them. Seeing as how people fear and mistrust the unknown, you are using this simple technique to overcome their defense mechanisms and help them think with their emotions rather than through reason.
Another great marketing method, employed by numerous digital marketing experts is hidden in telling a story. Those who decide to employ storytelling techniques in marketing usually base their approach around three major points: the problem, the protagonist, and the action. Here, the key lies in choosing the right protagonist. Numerous inexperienced marketers paint the company as the protagonist when the focus should clearly be on the customer.
By creating a real-life scenario in which your customer has a problem and approaches your company for a solution (takes an action), you are showing them a glimpse at what their interaction with you will be like. This is also why the use of testimonials is so effective. You are allowing your customers to connect the story to a face of a satisfied customer. An average James or Jane Doe smiling from a thumbnail picture next to their confession is more likely to convince them of your effectiveness than an impressive and carefully constructed list of features and services.
Nowadays, the number of SMBs, startups and similar enterprises is larger than it has ever been before. This means that there is a great probability of your offer not being unique enough to set you apart. The products you are peddling are likely to be found in e-stores of most your competitors and there is even a probability that they will appear in the same or similar bundle.
Digital marketing and web design experts behind GWM believe that the key to overcoming this obstacle lies in communication and transparency. You see, the problem that most online businesses face is in the fact that most clients can’t trust you by default. So, how do you start building their trust before you actually deliver any results? By being transparent at what you do and giving a real-life feedback to your customers as frequently as possible, you can solve this issue in a simple and elegant manner.
The Sense of Urgency
Did you ever think to ask why is this limited time offer happening right now instead of a month ago? Are all these products cheaper to make a month before the Christmas or is something else in play? You see, the reason why limited time offers exist in the first place is in order to create a false sense of urgency. By pulling this off, you are giving your audience the sense of the thrill that comes from the race against time. You see, even if someone could guarantee them that the price will remain the same even after this period is over, they would still have the sense of accomplishment for spotting and taking advantage of this offer in real time.
On the other hand, this is a technique consisting of two parts. In order for this limited time offer to be impressive, the time-span in which it is present needs to be short enough to show urgency, yet long enough to allow you a maximum profit. Additionally, it needs to have a strong reference as a starting point. For instance, lowering the price of the product for 5 percent of its total value isn’t that impressive, while lowering its price by 80 percent may actually make you lose money. For this reason alone, some retailers tend to inflate the price prior to the holiday season, so that they have a stronger point of reference.
What determines an acceptable price for the product? If someone tried to charge you $10,000 for a luxury vehicle, you would say that it’s a great deal, while if someone tried to offer you a 20 years old car, you would call them insane. However, by using these two examples in the same sentence, we made the first vehicle appear much cheaper, while at the same time making the second offer appear even less reasonable.
The reason behind this is the fact that we placed them next to each other and allowed you to effortlessly compare the two. This is similar to what some retailers do in their stores or e-stores. By placing their prime product next to its overpriced version, the first one appears much more appealing. On the other hand, by overpricing the inferior product and therefore reducing the price range between it and the more expensive version, you are making the idea of going for the more expensive one into a no-brainer.
Random Scheduled Rewards
Finally, a lot of businesses use loyalty programs that operate on fixed algorithms. For instance, you get a point for every visit and upon reaching 10 points, you get to choose a reward. On the other hand, what if you didn’t reward every 10th visit but did so as luck would have it. You see, by rewarding your audience upon 10 purchases, visits or interactions with your e-store, you are virtually letting them know that there is no chance of a random reward on their next 9 visits. Needless to say, it isn’t hard to imagine why this is a bad practice.
On the other hand, just the idea that every single interaction they have with you might turn out to be more profitable for them might make the UX upon every single visit far more rewarding. This is the so-called variable reinforcement that adds a bit more spontaneity and even mystery around your interaction with customers.
The Hierarchy of Needs
At the end, it is possible to explain the entire phenomenon of marketing by demonstrating how it helps one climb the basic psychological principle called the hierarchy of needs. For instance, by telling them that you have the most quality product on offer, you are promising them financial safety, seeing as how they now know they won’t have to purchase another product due to malfunction.
By presenting your clients as members of a community, rather than a set of individuals who made the same choice, you are satisfying their social needs. In other words, you are allowing them to become a part of a community of your users and in this way providing them with the sense of belonging. Apart from this, the sheer knowledge that they possess a premium item or that they purchased it from the most esteemed retailer satisfies their need for self-actualization.
If we were to draw any general conclusion from all of this, it would be safe to say that without psychology there is no marketing. You see, if your offer is significantly inferior to that of your competitors, no amount of marketing will be able to help you. On the other hand, if what you have to offer is even slightly comparable, you can play on the emotions of your customers in order to convince them to impulse-buy from you. For this, however, you need to know your way around both human psychology, digital marketing and marketing in general.