What Can Marketers Learn from Psychology?

Businesses pour thousands of dollars each year into web, mobile, radio, and TV advertising.  The average B2B business reports a $185,000 annual budget, and many expect that number to rise by next year.

What’s the desired result? B2B advertising should drive emotional responses around your brand and convince customers to complete future purchases.

However, before developing marketing strategies and tactics around messaging, it’s helpful to analyze how the human mind processes information through a psychology and neuromarketing lens.

A key part of marketing understands how and why your customers act the way they do. When you recognize your audience’s emotions and behaviors, you’ll more likely be able to develop compelling messaging that drives results.

How can you use psychology to develop marketing campaigns that boost your brand awareness and conversions? Let’s examine what marketers can learn from psychology and how you can implement this knowledge to take your marketing from good to incredible.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Bridging the gap between marketing and psychology is the best way to anticipate your consumer’s buying behaviors.
  • Applying marketing psychology allows you to connect with your customers better.
  • Using elements like imagery, reciprocity, trust signals, and urgency, you can develop a more robust marketing strategy that’s built on customer behavior.

What is Marketing Psychology?

Businesses who utilize marketing psychology incorporate a variety of psychological principles into their marketing content and sales strategies. While most marketers aren’t psychologists, you’re still able to adapt elements that allow you to engage with your consumers respectfully and ethically.

A few ways you can implement marketing psychology include:

  • Position your services and products as a solution instead of a list of features
  • Showcase your flaws to build consumer trust
  • Enforce that your services hold a higher value than the competition
  • Make your customers feel like you built a promotion just around them
  • Introducing urgency and fear if your customers don’t take action

Many marketers are additionally employing neuromarketing to connect with consumers on a deeper level. Neuromarketing is a newer field that utilizes medical technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other methods for measuring brain activity, to study the brain and predict customer decision-making.

There is an obvious crossover between psychology and marketing. However, the trick is persuading and manipulating potential customers to think differently about your brand.

For example, marketers can use neuromarketing to understand how consumers react to specific stimuli in advertising, packaging, products, and more. If consumers react negatively to a specific color in your advertisement, you can adjust your marketing to something more suitable.

4 Important Principles Marketers Can Learn from Psychology

While you may not have a budget to run extended neuromarketing tests, you can still implement psychology principles into your future marketing campaigns. Here are a few lessons B2B marketers can learn from psychology principles.

1. Use Compelling Imagery

Did you know that 90% of all data that the brain processes are visual? Our brains process images much faster than text, and humans often remember imagery more than text. When it comes to developing marketing campaigns, your images should be a focal point and tell a story about your brand or services.

A few tips to use images successfully include:

  • Pay attention to how “scannable” your images are and what gut takeaway your audience will instantly feel. It should grab their attention, speak to their needs, and make them want to take action.
  • Format images in unique layouts to stand out from the competition. Instead of using a standard stock photo, consider developing a GIF or user-generated content to induce an emotional response.
  • Use real people in your images so your customers can build a deeper relationship with your brand. While stock photos are easier to acquire, consider using people throughout your emails, web pages, social posts, and more.
  • Discover what color hues work best for your company through testing. Ninety-three percent of consumers focus on colors when buying a product or service.

Source: lululemon

2. Build Trust by Giving Something Away

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the principle of reciprocity is simple. If you do something for your customers, they will want to do something for you in return.

Consider the restaurant industry. Have you ever gotten a mint with your bill? When your server delivers a bill without a mint, the customer will tip according to the dining experience. However, if the diner receives a mint, the tip jumps by 3.3%. The tip increases by 20% with two mints.

You can also apply this general concept to your marketing. While your customers will appreciate physical items like a branded sweatshirt or tumbler, it’s also a great opportunity to display your credibility—especially during longer B2B sales cycles.

For example, consider giving away:

  • E-books
  • Whitepapers
  • Product demos or trial periods
  • Webinar training
  • Consultations

Through thought-leadership and demonstrations, you’re able to give away valuable insight while still persuading your key audiences to purchase your products or services.

Source: Marketing Insider Group

3. Use Social Proof to Highlight Credibility

While social proof isn’t new, it’s important to introduce this psychology into your marketing strategy. Social proof is the theory that customers will adopt the actions or beliefs of a group of people that they trust. It’s essentially hopping on the bandwagon because everyone else is doing it.

Social proof is a powerful tool you can leverage for your business. In fact, 92% of B2B consumers are more likely to purchase from a business after reading a credible review.

Consider implementing social proof by:

  • Displaying the number of social media followers or shares you have on blog posts
  • Highlighting case studies and testimonials that show positive experiences
  • Using user-generated content that features your company’s biggest fans
  • Showing user reviews and ratings on your website
  • Creating a pressroom to highlight important media mentions

Source: Marketo

4. Create a Sense of Urgency

Have you ever gone to sign up for an event and seen a tagline that read “Only 10 seats left at this price. Sign up now!”? If so, you’ve experienced the scarcity principle. Scarcity plays with supply and demand—the rarer the content or product, the more valuable it will seem in your consumer’s eyes.

However, when approaching this concept, you need to be careful with the messaging. You don’t want to tell your customers that there is a limited quantity of available products and they need to purchase it now. It will give the impression you’re ill-prepared to introduce a valuable product to the industry.

Instead, use a sense of urgency by letting your customers know that due to popular demand, there is limited product left and they need to act fast. You can implement urgency throughout:

  • Email subject lines and pre-headers
  • Paid search and display headlines
  • Social media posts

Source: CycleBar

Using Marketing Psychology to Drive Results

The point is to use real data to understand who your customers are and how you can meet their needs. Before applying marketing psychology to your strategy, consider what best fits your business and target audience. How will they react to urgent messaging? Which colors are more likely to capture their attention?

When applying marketing psychology to your strategy, consider the following principles:

  • Use imagery in unique formats with real people to elicit a more emotional response
  • Build trust with your customers by giving away valuable materials before a sale
  • Display social proof to demonstrate past customer experiences
  • Craft a sense of urgency in headlines and content to drive more conversions

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.