In this post I highlight some key behaviour principles in psychology (which you may not have heard of) to illustrate ways to improve a marketing campaign.

(Pssst each behaviour title represents a song – try and name the artist as you go through)

On an average day we are exposed to as much as 590 minutes of advertising (Yankelovich), nearly double to what we would have been exposed to in 1935. Meaning, being quite frank, there is a lot of clutter out there.

Indicating companies, and individuals, have to increasingly rely on growing engagement to cut through the clutter – reducing banner blindness etc. Creating the all-important question, “how can someone differentiate themselves from the norm?” making them worth noting – in a competitive environment.

Obviously “unique selling points”, product originality, price and other factors in the marketing mix are key. But if significant content and promotion is produced to compliment a consumer’s psych, eliciting a positive “moment of truth” you are already ahead of 90% of the competition out there – due to truly tailored marketing!

To help give any marketing campaign that boost I have detailed 8 behavioural principles in psychology, including examples to help refine most marketing campaigns, below. Including;

  • Anchoring;
  • Cognitive dissonance;
  • The power of 9;
  • Banner blindness;
  • The psychology of online customisation
  • The halo effect
  • Price framing
  • Social proof

Please feel free to scroll to the one of interest.

   Adding a little ‘thought’ into your marketing.

 First things first I’m the realist (Anchoring)

Would you rather:

  • Learn about Anchoring and read more psychology tips
  • Earn some money
  • Go to Facebook

You would be forgiven to think this a tact to fill up space, but it was actually to highlight the power of anchoring. People would love to earn some money or go to Facebook but the first point “Learn about Anchoring and read more psychology tips,” has now been anchored in your psyche, hopefully! Meaning there is an unfamiliar charm to this point due to it being the first point you noted. Of course there are exceptions to how people feel to the above point.

Anchoring is a heuristic (cognitive bias) which tries to describe our tendency to rely on the first piece of information we see and receive, in relation to making a decision. I.e the idea that first impressions are important is also reflected in the marketing mix.

Anchoring is key when buyers use an initial piece of information to make a subsequent judgment, where 3 things you should note in online marketing are:

  • Consumers keep the first price in mind. So place your competitor’s price first then your lower price second.
  • The first anchor carries the most sentiment so when describing a company’s traits make sure the first point is the most attractive.
  • Make the first person/persona the customers come in contact with is as engaging an agreeable as possible and use using the halo. For example your commentator on a website/video.

A quick video update on anchoring can be found below

 My mind’s telling me no… (Cognitive Dissonance)

Social scientists have explained cognitive dissonance as a feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs (i.e I know cigarettes are bad for me due to research but I’ve been told it can relax me). And with opinions and social commentary becoming increasingly prominent in everyday life, cognitive dissonance is an ever growing problem in a consumers mind. Because of conflicting commentary!

So effective marketing needs to offset cognitive dissonance. And in a digital world this can be as simple as analysing social sentiment.

Post analysis you establish what negative and positive commentary is being detailed about your company/product, what is causing the cognitive dissonance, in relation to your target audience and your clients, and who is the micro-influences who promote this cognitive dissonance.

From this base, you realign both your content marketing and influencer identification efforts to support the positive half of the cognitive dissonance, and focus on re aligning negative comments .

Love potion number 9… (The magic number 9)

Anderson and Simester in their 2003 study illustrated the charm of the number 9. Their results concluded we all have a natural partiality towards prices ending in 9, and highlighted we are more likely to buy a product when its price ends with a 9. Even if that product is more expensive than its identical model in a different store!

Why is this? Pass! There are plenty of theories on this but no conclusion. But one thing which is commonly concluded is that 9 symbolises a sale to the average Joe. Meaning if you’re playing with prices it may be best to add 9 at the end of the title unless you’re selling a high end product. Because the 9 may highlight cheapness and a 0 can infer high quality.

I see trees of green, red roses too …. (Banner blindness)

Jacob Nielson hypothesised that we are becoming increasingly goal driven when online. Meaning when we arrive on a page we tend to ignore the navigation, design elements and more importantly advertising.

Where we rarely tend to acknowledge areas of the website populated by banner advertising. Hence the phrase “banner blindness”. Whilst the natural take away point from this is to not rely on banner advertising, there is also an additional point! Advertising or applicable call to actions should be merged with the areas a user has attentional bias too, causing additional interaction with areas of value.

My name is what my name is who … (The psychology of online customisation)

Imagine two pairs of trainers’ one pair with your initials on the side and one without.Which do you feel is more expensive? I hope you thought the one with your initials in and there is a reason behind this.

The opportunity to express ourselves through customising a product promotes an emotional attachment we rarely have – it’s unique to us. This phenomena is heightened by the Endowment effect, which is the hypothesis that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them.

Because once a potential client/customer has customised a product, pre purchase, they already have a strong affiliation to the production and start to see it as their own. Which as mentioned causes an individual to associate more value to the product – through the endowment effect.

Pre warning there is a limit to customisation. The client is buying the brand and once customisation influences the main brand, clients have shown aversion to purchasing the product.

A quick video update can be found below

I can feel your halo halo halo … (The halo effect)

The halo effect, simply defined, is the overall impression we get of a person/company which directly influences our feelings on the persons/company character.

A good example of this effect is Richard Branson, who to be honest probably has little to do with the running of the Virgin business these days.  But Richard being almost a talisman for hard work and entrepreneurial thinking has been a catalyst for the trust and good feelings we have towards the Virgin brand.

So how could a marketer use this? A great example of this is ShoeDazzle, a company co-founded by Kim Kardashian. The company itself was founded by two serial entrepreneurs who had no sway in the shoe world and this is where Kim came into play. They recruited Kim to be the visible head of the company, introducing the halo effect through Kim to increase sales and gravitas in the fashion world!

Money money money … (Price framing)

So price framing is how we change the context of a price (without substantially altering the price itself) in order to encourage additional purchases. Where price framing is commonly linked with behavioural economics. Whilst this is a very complex and young field, the key takeaways which you can take from the research are:

  1. People evaluate prices relative to a reference point. Where we evaluate purchases on relative terms and look for the price which is reasonable. For example Dr. Gizem in Psychology today uses the example…”You have two options. A standard quality break maker is for sale for $80; and a higher quality bread maker is sold at $120. You compare and contrast the two machines. You tell yourself you are not an expert maker, and you go with the $80 one.

“Now when you go to the shop, you have 3 options. You can spend $80, or $120 or $475. Rationally speaking, adding an irrelevant option should not change your decision between the $80 and the $120 ones. The pros and cons did not change; quality of the bread makers remained the same, and you are making the same salary. You know that you are never going to spend $475 on a break maker…

“But now with the extortion price of $475 being added to the mix you have found the happy medium of $120 and potentially will be happier to purchase the $120 product in comparison when there is only two options.”

The Weber-Fechner law. Aka we evaluate price difference relative to the initial price. Where intensity and perceived change is integral to the decision. I.e. you would be happier to purchase something when the price was reduced from 20 pounds to 10 than something which went down from 120 to 110.

  1. Finally people see monetary losses hurting more than monetary gains give pleasure. For example we try and avoid missing out on our discount code over the early bird discounts. Even if finanically they are worth the same.

People help the people …. (Social proof)

Have you ever chose something because, well, someone else had? Well this is a norm. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, stated that people are more likely to find actions appropriate when others are doing them.

For example in New York City 1969. A man simply stood looking up into the air. He went completely unnoticed by passers-by’s until the researchers increased the number of people (all staring upwards) to five, drawing a small crowd. But when they increased the number of participants to 18, the crowd multiplied by 400%! I appreciate this may seem dated but when you think about it, everyday we are influenced by others.

Specifically in marketing through reviews, star ratings, testimonials, positive word of mouth marketing. The list goes on!

 Here’s a great quick video to describe the concept 

Above is just a little taster of psychology concepts which could positively influence a marketing campaign. If there is one call to action from this article, it is please remember sometimes you have to understand your audience – that much more – to be effective.

If you do have any questions, or additional advice you think people would benefit from please feel free to comment, and thank you for the time in reading this! I hope it helps!

Sorry if it was a bit long … I got carried away