15 Principles of Marketing Psychology in Business

Effective marketing usually involves analyzing people’s thoughts and behavior and developing materials that affect them in a positive way. This understanding, also known as marketing psychology, can help you and your team sell your product line effectively, influence consumers, and maybe even increase revenue and profits.

Understanding marketing psychology can also help you make a good impression with your team by helping you make wise and informed marketing decisions. In this article, we define marketing psychology and explain 15 principles and theories of marketing psychology to help you succeed.

Table Of Contents

1 What is marketing psychology?
2 Why is psychology in marketing important?
3 15 principles and theories of marketing psychology
3.1 1. Reciprocity
3.2 2. Priming
3.3 3. Anchoring
3.4 4. Grouping
3.5 5. Random gifts
3.6 6. Loss aversion
3.7 7. Psychology of color
3.8 8. Fitt’s Law
3.9 9. Decoy effect
3.10 10. Verbatim effect
3.11 11. Strategi foot-in-the-door
3.12 12. Sensory attraction
3.13 13. Social proof
3.14 14. Scarcity
3.15 15. Fenomena Baader-Meinhof

What is marketing psychology?

Marketing psychology is the study and application of the way the human mind interacts with and responds to marketing materials and strategies. This means it’s important to understand why people think that way when you design your marketing campaign.

Understanding marketing psychology can also support social and cultural awareness, respectful communication, and integrity in your team’s marketing practices.

Since almost all marketing revolves around understanding human thinking and choice, using psychology in marketing is often common practice by definition.

Why is psychology in marketing important?

The link between marketing and psychology is important because it can inform the choices you make as a marketing team, help you reach consumers more effectively and possibly increase revenue and profitability.

Understanding marketing psychology can also help you make informed decisions about how you communicate your marketing campaign materials.

In addition to potentially sound business practices, it can also help you ensure that you support your company’s mission and values, if any, in your marketing efforts. Combined, the effects of intelligent marketing psychology have the potential to benefit your company or organization as well as your customers.

15 principles and theories of marketing psychology

To help inform your own marketing efforts, here are 15 principles and theories of marketing psychology:

1. Reciprocity

The principle of reciprocity or reciprocity refers to the tendency of people to want to repay the kindness that others do for them. In marketing, this means that offering a small benefit or convenience to customers can sometimes encourage them to return the favor by buying your product or service.

To use reciprocity in your own marketing and sales efforts, consider offering your customers free stuff—for example, a branded pen, a free t-shirt, or even a short personal note with their shipment.

Be sure to carefully measure the cost of the items you provide against the value of the additional customers you gain and retain.

2. Priming

Priming is the word for what happens when a person experiences one thing, such as a word or sound, and it affects their perception of the next thing they see.

For example, if someone points you red and then asks you to name a food, you may be more inclined to think of apples or tomatoes because the qualities of red are already on your mind.

In marketing, this means giving consumers a favorable sensory stimulus, usually sight, before they make a purchase decision.

For example, displaying a photo of your most aesthetically appealing product feature on your website’s landing page can encourage consumers to buy a more attractive and possibly profitable product. Try using images, words, or even sounds like music to help influence consumers to view your product in a positive light.

3. Anchoring

Anchoring refers to the tendency of people to remember the first information they see. They often use this information to guide their decision-making process afterwards.

This is the main principle in using discounts for marketing purposes. This means if a customer sees a higher-priced item and then gets a discounted price soon after, they are more likely to make a purchase.

For example, if you run a jeans sale that normally costs 100,000 and you sell them for 80,000, entering both prices in your store would be an anchoring use.

4. Grouping

Clustering or clustering refers to a strategy in which people group information to help remember something. Most people can usually only remember about seven pieces of information, more or less, so grouping can help them remember more.

Being aware of your readers’ memory limits can be helpful when creating marketing materials. Try grouping or grouping important information into smaller sections to help potential customers retain more information about the best qualities of your product. Remembering more of the positive qualities of your product may mean they are more likely to make a purchase.

5. Random gifts

Random rewards are part of a psychological principle called conditioning, which helps explain how rewards can increase or decrease the likelihood of certain behaviors.

Rewarding a particular behavior only occasionally and on an unforeseen schedule can maximize the likelihood that a person will perform the behavior.

For example, providing random free drinks throughout the day or offering random gifts on some of your product boxes can encourage customers to buy more in the hope of getting one of those gifts.

6. Loss aversion

Loss aversion or reluctance to lose refers to the tendency to keep something after it has been earned. For example, consider the free trial model of online subscription marketing. After a customer has used the service for a week or more, they may prefer to retain the benefits of the product by paying a subscription fee.

Consider offering a trial period of service or product samples to incorporate loss aversion in your marketing strategy.

7. Psychology of color

Color psychology describes how people associate colors with certain feelings and ideas. Color can be a powerful tool in marketing because you can use existing consumer color associations to help them develop positive attitudes towards your product and company.

You may also be successful in communicating your company’s brand colors to a broad customer base which can increase brand awareness and sales potential. Consider researching which colors evoke feelings and using this information when developing your marketing materials.

You can also use market research strategies such as surveys and focus groups to assess your use of color in marketing.

8. Fitt’s Law

Fitt’s Law is a specific marketing psychology model that describes the distance between the target mouse and the button size on a website. When navigation items are closer to each other and buttons are larger, users are more likely to click on-page elements.

When they are smaller and further away from each other, the user is less likely to click. Try placing preferred items closer together and using large icons for desired functions such as making purchases or subscribing to mailing lists.

9. Decoy effect

The decoy effect describes how website users view price lists, especially for subscription models. Providing additional subscription items that cost the same as others but are less valuable can increase the likelihood that consumers will make a purchase.

For example, imagine that you offer an online publication for 70,000/month, a print version for 100,000/month, and a combined print/online version for 100,000/month.

In this scenario, consumers may be more likely to purchase the combined version as opposed to just online because they compare it to the perceived value of a print-only subscription. Consider including items of increased value and the same cost on your subscriptions page to potentially increase sales.

10. Verbatim effect

The verbatim effect refers to the tendency for people to remember a summary of what they read or hear, rather than a word-for-word explanation, or verbatim, of the information.

Therefore, it can be useful to make your marketing materials easy for readers to scan. If they can quickly see your emails, social media posts, and online content and understand the most important information, they are more likely to make a purchase because they don’t have to remember the most interesting points verbatim.

Try using catchy titles and subtitles to use this effect to your advantage.

11. Strategi foot-in-the-door

A foot-in-the-door strategy describes an individual’s increased likelihood of taking a major action for someone if they have taken a smaller action before.

For example, someone helping with a campaign by signing a petition will most likely help by entering a phone number. In marketing, you can use this to your advantage by starting with small customer interactions, such as asking for an email address, and then providing materials to solicit donations or make larger purchases.

12. Sensory attraction

Interesting to see, hear, taste and smell can be a powerful set of marketing strategies because sensory experiences help customers make associations with your products and brands.

Although sight and sound are the most common senses used in marketing, consider using other sensory appeals such as taste and smell.

For example, if you are creating a marketing campaign for a bakery, you might consider including a pop-up shop in a market square or shopping center and giving out samples to passers-by. The combined smell and taste of bakery products might convince them to make a purchase.

13. Social proof

Social proof is a marketing psychology principle that describes the tendency of individuals to behave more like a group of people they trust.

This can be an important principle to use in marketing as it can help grow your customer base significantly. When your loyal customer base is relatively large and vocal about their support for your company, others who trust that group are more likely to make a purchase as well.

Consider using social media marketing to make the most of the social proof phenomenon. When users can see how many of their trusted friends and acquaintances prefer your product, they may also be more likely to trust your brand.

14. Scarcity

When multiple items are available, they tend to be perceived as more valuable. This tendency is known as scarcity. Customers may be more likely to make a purchase if they know that a particular product is in short supply and that they have a short time to buy it.

In marketing, this means communicating the popularity of an item that is nearly sold out can help you move the remaining product. Consider using email or social media to share with your customers when some items are left over.

15. Fenomena Baader-Meinhof

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon occurs when you see something for the first time and then start to notice it more often in everyday life.

A common example of this occurs when a person buys a certain color of car and then starts seeing that color more often each day. This principle can be useful in marketing because you can leverage this targeted attention with marketing materials that convey a positive message.

For example, if you know a potential customer was exposed to your product for the first time through an online advertisement and they signed up for your email list, you can provide them with an effective marketing email and a link to a social media campaign. This might help persuade them to buy your merchandise.

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