Marketing can be described as the art of nurturing relationships with consumers with the aim of building brand awareness and loyalty. Meanwhile, psychology is the scientific study of human behavior.
The link between marketing and psychology is evident. To effectively build connections with consumers it’s necessary to understand their behavior and the underlying motivation behind consumers’ purchase decisions.
According to consumer behaviour economists, consumers do not make decisions in a vacuum. On the contrary, an individual’s preferences and ultimate purchasing decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors including culture, socio-economic status, peers, geographical location and demographic factors.
By taking these factors into consideration, marketers are then able to create campaigns and messages that can favourably sway the target consumers’ behavior.
Here are some reasons why psychology plays an important part in marketing a product or service:
Can you imagine trying to sell a product or service to ‘all and yonder’ with no idea of whom this product is specifically targeted toward? That will likely be a disastrous campaign.
At the heart of effective marketing is a thorough understanding of your target market—their nuances, attributes, unique idiosyncrasies.
The process of sifting through and narrowing down your ideal audience is indeed a psychological process in which you assess the behaviour and thinking of a certain consumer group.
This process further enables marketers to segment their markets based on factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, socio-economic status, family income, marital status, geography etc. These segments share similarities and differences but they need to be marketed to using strategies that will resonate with each segment in their own way.
In addition to narrowing down your target audience, effective marketing is about understanding consumers’ needs. Simply put, only by understanding your target audiences’ needs would you be able to successfully fulfill these needs.
While millenials may be categorized in the same demographic group based on their age, their needs as individuals could be vastly different at any given time. Millenials living in the rural countryside may have starkly different needs compared to millenials living in a cosmopolitan city.
At the same time, married mothers may have different needs compared to single women when it comes to certain product choices.
These different pain points require marketers to differentiate their products and most importantly to position these products in a way that that the target consumer will recognize the product as something that solves their problems.
The consumer buying cycle is a marketing tool that is fundamentally borne from consumer behaviour theories. The basic funnel includes the:
Awareness phase: Here, the customer identifies a need and is aware of a product or service that can potentially fulfill this need.
Consideration phase: The customer assesses how your product or service meets their needs and compares this to competing products.
Intent phase– The customer emotionally connects with the product or service offering that best meets their needs and therefore makes a purchasing decision.
Purchase and repurchase phase: The customer goes ahead to buy the said product or service and may repurchase if the product or service does in fact meet their needs as anticipated.
This fundamental information is valuable for both offline and online marketing campaigns in that it facilitates the creation of effective marketing content at each stage of the buying cycle with the ultimate goal of bringing the consumer to the purchase phase.
At the same time, leveraging the buying cycle allows you to reach your consumers through the right communication channels.
Bottom line—different marketing messages and channels are required at each different stage of the consumer buying cycle. Effective marketing requires digging deeper into these different stages to formulate campaigns that resonate with the consumer’s disposition.
Smart marketers are skilled at instigating behavioural changes in consumers. Simply by understanding how consumers make purchase decisions, you can often change their minds in spite of their firmly held beliefs.
Marketing tactics essentially play on the consumer’s emotions for example by instilling fear, uncertainty, doubt, awe or happiness. A tactical campaign that plays on any of these emotions can favourably change a consumer’s purchasing decisions.
Remember, overt emotional manipulation may not work out so well and is not recommended in building long lasting relationships with your customers. But, backing up your marketing claims with social proof could be a more effective approach to altering a consumers’ behaviour and giving them the benefit of your product or service. The underlying psychological theory here is that people tend to imitate others, with the belief that the bigger the crowd, the better the deal must be.
You do not have to spend a lot of money on marketing research to understand consumer psychology. Making slight but strategic changes to your marketing campaigns could be all you need to sway your target audience in the right direction. In the end, being thoughtful of your customers’ needs is a more effective use of the marketing and psychology combo than the mere use of cocky, overt marketing tactics.
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