As proclaimed advocates for all things marketing psychology, we could talk about its benefits for days.
With so much to say about the topic and its positive impact on brand strategies, we decided to highlight marketing psychology in the best way we know how: in a blog post alongside the help of a psychology expert.
We spoke with Kaylee Boulton, the Director of Behavioural Science at Hotspex, a digital advertising agency based out of Canada that focuses on emotional science and research, to share her thoughts on how beneficial understanding marketing psychology is for brands.
Defining marketing psychology
To truly set the tone for our conversation, we started off by discussing what marketing psychology is and the role it plays in understanding consumer decision-making. This is what Boulton had to say:
“Psychology is about being able to understand human decision-making in a particular context. When we think about marketing psychology, that context is marketing and buyer behavior, so marketing psychology helps us understand the consumer and their decision-making and helps us predict and prescribe that behavior, which we can apply to different content strategies."
A win-win for consumers and brands
If you’re wondering how ethical it is to use marketing psychology as a means of driving certain responses to your brand or its services, we’re here to ease your concerns. Boulton says marketing psychology can help a brand reach its goals and provide consumers with their own set of perks.
“I think [using marketing psychology] is sort of a win-win for marketers and consumers because the marketing manager's goal is to get people to buy their brand or their service, but I think where marketing psychology comes in to help consumers is that marketers really need to understand what motivates their consumers. Whether that’s an underlying psychological principle or something that they’re more aware of, it’s still helping the brand show up for the consumer at the right time and in the right place,” said Boulton. “In one way, we are able to use it to our advantage, but a lot of the time, for consumers, it’s helping them make their decisions faster. They rely on mental shortcuts anyway. We’re building these heuristics, and brands are using them over and over again and it makes it easier for the consumer to make those day-to-day decisions.”
Giving consumers the purchasing experience they need
The benefits of marketing psychology aren’t one size fits all. When it comes to matters of the mind, everyone's a little different and so are the benefits they find attractive. For some, psychology can help make the shopping journey easier.
“[Marketing psychology] helps make the shopping journey easier and as a result it becomes more enjoyable for the consumer," said Boulton.
Marketing psychology can help others to get exactly what they need.
"If it’s something they’re more passionate about, they might want to have all of the information and so it might not be about what's easiest for them, but marketing psychology can help you figure out what’s necessary for each consumer in that context,” said Boulton.
And when consumers can’t speak for themselves, marketing psychology might be just the trick to help them reach the best possible decision in their purchasing experience.
“I think a lot of the time people can’t always say what they’re going to do. Behavioral science tells us that there is this behavioral intention or say-do gap where people don’t always act the way they say they’re going to, but marketing psychology and research in general helps us uncover those underlying motivations and different methodologies to help us understand what consumers need and why,” said Boulton.
Adding value to the customer journey
As a marketer, you know how critical it is that consumers find value in the products they buy and the brands they support. In many cases, it can be the difference between a consumer becoming loyal to a brand and repeatedly making purchases or thinking negatively about a brand and never returning.
Boulton says marketing psychology can help marketers create brand value that resonates with consumers’ innate psychological responses. How? By focusing on the full consumer experience.
“Marketing psychology helps you not only to understand your consumer, but the entire consumer journey," said Boulton. “We really need to consider every step in the consumer journey and what that experience looks like to make sure that it adds value to your consumer and makes them want to come back. People are more likely to buy into an experience than a product.”
Cutting through the noise of competition
Marketing psychology may seem like a new concept, but chances are you’ve probably used at least one psychology strategy in your campaigns before. Things like limited-time offers, flash sales, and reviews and testimonials all leverage marketing psychology. You may have seen great responses from customers intrigued by these marketing tools. Could those responses have been any stronger had you had a greater understanding of marketing psychology? Boulton says yes.
“I think a lot of marketers are using it and they aren’t really aware of it but by becoming aware of it, it helps them create that consistency and be relentless in it. Being able to tap into the different psychological principles that are at play allows them to measure what kind of biases might be going on within a particular context for your particular brand and then develop and test different innovations or concepts that are going to help break through that noise and the clutter of the competition,” said Boulton.
She offered an example around toy stores:
“There are a plethora of toys, but a lot of stores who [tackle toy overload well] limit the options to one store brand and one big brand and make it easier for consumers to pick a product. A lot of brands can look at that and think it’s great, but without knowing the underlying psychological principles there and how it’s about satisfaction, you wouldn’t know how to measure it and implement change for it.”
Knowing the benefits of marketing psychology has the potential to elevate your marketing. This knowledge can help you better understand your consumers and serve them in a way that fits right in line with their natural psychological responses.