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5 insightful quotes on the psychology behind consumer decision-making

5 insightful quotes on the psychology behind consumer decision-making

As marketers, we're constantly looking at how we can support our audience in decision-making — the decision to engage with our loyalty program, follow our brand on social media, purchase an item and everything in between.

But what's the science behind it all?

And what should we understand to help us better serve consumers in this process?

Throughout the course of my time as a brand journalist with Quikly, I’ve gotten to interview experts in marketing psychology and consumer engagement. These conversations were full of valuable insights, and while you can view them in their entirety on this blog, a number of the quotes from experts were worth sharing again — especially those around consumer decision-making

Here are five of them, each of which talks about the role of a different element in decision-making:

1. On emotional connectivity:

“There is no decision without emotion, [shopping] is always emotional whether a brand tells you it is or whether it’s the purchaser creating a want or desire ... You can’t sell without it — emotion is a currency all in itself.” - Bernadette Butler, CEO & Co-founder, Storytap

Takeaway: Emotions drive purchase decisions. An internal motivator, your consumers’ feelings toward your product, service or brand are the deciding factor in whether or not that conversion will happen.

(Read more about emotions in B2C marketing.) 

2. On anticipation:

“We perform an action in anticipation of its consequence. By this we try to predict how our future self feels. It helps in decision-making and activates the reward system.” - Shagoon Maurya, psychotherapist and found of ursafespace

Takeaway: When you spark anticipation in your customers, you fuel action — action that can directly correlate to increased purchases and customer engagement. According to Maurya, when consumers look to satisfy their anticipation during the customer journey, they will also think about how a product or service will help them do that. 

(Read more about the basics of anticipation.) 

3. On simplicity:

“With choice overload, the brain becomes cognitively burdened, and consumers engage in avoidance responses. They may just walk away rather than exert the effort needed to try to make the best choice for them. They may also end up being less satisfied with the choice they make because they continue to think about all the choices they gave up." - Colleen Kirk, D.P.S., Associate Professor of Management and Marketing Studies at New York Institute of Technology

Takeaway: Humans need simplicity, and this translates to their experiences as consumers. It makes for a fulfilling, easy-to-understand shopping process. It also helps to bring them back for future experiences.

(Read more about the science of simplicity.)

4. On cultural values:

“Every buying decision, every piece of persuasion has to fit within the cultural values [of your target audience]. People don’t relate to the mass market, they relate to class and community and 'who’s most important in my reference group?' and that’s where you see issues in marketing; if you have this new innovative topic but people can’t understand what it is or what it’s supposed to do for them [you won’t see repeat purchases or truly influence consumers].” - Margaret J. King, Ph.D., Director of The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis

Takeaway: Human culture is a psychological response to life and has a major influence on the actions taken by consumers. Purchase decisions, services rendered and brand support can all be tied back to culture (socioeconomic statuses, geographic locations, aspirations, etc.). Marketing efforts must leverage cultural aspects and clearly communicate to consumers the purpose products and services will have in their lives. 

(Read more about how class, community and culture influence purchase decisions.)

5. On relevancy:

“How relevant is a brand to one’s life, routine, existence? If a brand can market relevancy, that brand can then allow marketers to do the things they do best to keep that brand connection and start building brand loyalty." - Carl Turner, CEO and founder, SWIPEBY

Takeaway: Distracted consumers are a byproduct of irrelevancy. They don’t pay attention to a product or service because they can’t tangibly see how it could positively affect them. In order to solve this problem, you must establish a connection between your brand and the customer. Show them why your brand is worthy of their attention by clearly communicating the relevancy of your offering.

(Read more about earning the attention of distracted consumers.) 

Emotional connectivity, anticipation, simplicity, cultural values and relevancy are only a few of the elements that go into consumer decision-making. Stay tuned to this blog for more. 


Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.

Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.