With the use of multimedia platforms, marketers design million-dollar campaigns, hire a plethora of creative professionals in the hope of eliciting an emotional tie between the consumer and the brand. By igniting an emotional reaction from the client, the marketer hopes to acquire new customers to purchase the brand’s products and services and retain current customers. However, the majority of this layout is highly dependent on the ability to affect and infer the consumers’ behaviour, meaning marketing mainly involves the use of consumer psychology. Although marketing campaigns are heavily reliant on the use of psychology, many businesses remain amiss to the benefits of implementing and considering a psychological component to their advertisements. Before we discuss the possible benefits of applying consumer psychology, we must first understand what it involves.

In a description of consumer psychology depicted by Dr. Lars Perner, consumer psychology involves several aspects, including: 

  1. How consumers think, feel, and differentiate between alternatives, whether it be products, brands or retailers.
  2. How a consumer is affected by socio-cultural aspects
  3. The behaviours executed while making a purchase
  4. How consumer motivation and strategies to arrive at a decision differ between products that vary in price and level of interest.
  5. And finally, how marketing campaigns can implement this knowledge to attract the consumer successfully.

With the use of all the aspects mentioned above, it’s possible that a marketing campaign can reach its consumers using psychology. But how exactly can they implement such ideas?

In an article for Fast Company, Robert Rosenthal, a distinguished German American psychologist, spent the bulk of his career investigating this question and describes five ways marketers can achieve this: 

  1. Run emotional ideas. Studies have proven time and time again that marketing messages accomplish more when they paint a picture of what the consumer will achieve with the product, rather than listing its components and features. Doing this, the marketer is essentially creating a new memory map tied to an emotion of hope or excitement, making it much easier to remember.
  2. Highlight your flaws. A large part of attracting or maintaining your current client list is the building of consumer trust, and this can be done by attending and addressing your product’s flaws instead of deceiving the consumer by hiding their existence.
  3. Reposition your competition. In an ethical and non-bashing way, reframe how the consumers view your competition. This can be done correctly by highlighting how your product can fill benefit a need in their life to a much higher degree, thus making your product the leading contender.
  4. Promote exclusivity. Understanding human needs is a significant benefit, and by understanding human psychology, you can target your customer’s ego by making them feel special if they were to continue in their purchase with your brand.
  5. Introduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Underline the possible consequences of their inaction. Loss aversion is an incredibly powerful motivational tool used in psychology that can be used to persuade people to purchase your product if it prevents negative outcomes.

The possible benefits of the intertwining of marketing and psychology are immense. However, there’s also a fragile line between ethical marketing and non-ethical marketing, especially when it comes to implementing subliminal psychological strategies. Several companies in the early 2000s had attempted to subliminally persuade their consumers into purchasing their product by flashing them a picture of the product below the threshold of human awareness. However, in recent years, the scientific community seems to be in consensus that this strategy simply does not work at a significant level. Nonetheless, the practice of psychology in marketing should always take into account the ethical boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed when trying to attract new clients. 

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