When it comes to marketing, although it may often seem the complete opposite, the person who should always be at the centre of every thought is the customer as a consumer. What do they want? What do they desire? What do they expect? How can you help them in their decision making? And how can you draw their attention to a new product that could be of interest to them?
It is right there, in that nook between people and marketing, that psychology fits into place, and where, the application of its principles can enable the careful study and identification of consumer behaviour in order to give rise to the marketing strategies that will produce the most effective results, both for the company and the client.
Sounds harder said than done, right?
Although certain choices may seem random or dictated by distant factors, most of the time nothing is left to chance: whether it’s the arrangement of products on a supermarket shelf, or the choice of packaging colours for a new moisturising cream.
But are these conscious or unconscious thoughts? Let’s just say it’s the right mix of the two.
Let’s begin by clarifying what neuromarketing is specifically. It’s the application of neuroscience to marketing as we know it, and the study of the unconscious processes that tend to lead each of us towards new choices – especially when it comes to purchases – and is therefore something that is done without awareness.
Don’t worry, we’re not about to give you a university lecture on the subject. But, that said, becoming aware of certain mental processes can be a good way to better understanding decisions that seem to have been made by your gut (and not in your head).
Neuromarketing focuses its attention on three macro-processes:
So where does all this lead? The understanding of how external stimuli can lead each person towards one choice rather than another, allows us to clearly study marketing strategies with a specific purpose.
It’s here that we enter a vast world, full of different elements and impulses, that are not only unconscious, but sometimes even completely evident to us.
We all tend to associate persuasive marketing with advertisements – whether on TV, the web, or on city billboards – with the free samples that companies give out at important events – with product endorsements made by famous people – or with the technique of ‘hurry, while stocks last’ (e.g. “just two pieces left” is a message we often see in eCommerce).
None of those ideas are wrong, but persuasive marketing is so much more than that.
Here is the first point to keep in mind to improve your awareness when purchasing and making choices: this process analyses and acts on the five senses, without neglecting any of them. How?
Unconscious choices, however, also tend to be influenced by many other factors. Price is definitely one of them, especially when it comes to real psychological pricing.
Although the explanation we are about to offer may seem absurd, most of our minds tend to unconsciously carry out this reasoning. When presented with an inexpensive product, a percentage discount will always seem more convenient than a simple reduction. Does a 20% discount off €30 strike you as more convenient than the idea of the same product costing €6 less? It’s likely that the first option, even though it’s technically identical to the second, will be more appealing. Why? Because twenty will always be bigger than six.
What about when it comes to an expensive product? In those cases, the situation is reversed: for a €3,000 item, a reduction of €600 will seem far more attractive than 20% (off).
The same goes for the famous 9 test. How many times have you seen €199.99 rather than €200? And how many times have you had the impression that those decimals were more interesting than a rounded price?
We mentioned it towards the beginning of the article, but now it’s time to really face it. Not even colours are left to chance, and the perception we mostly have of them is closely linked both to our own personal experiences and the cultures in which we live.
Each colour represents specific emotions and, consequently, in marketing we tend to associate them with very specific sectors.
Need some examples?
Red is said to represent love, passion, but also courage and strength: it’s no coincidence that we find it across romantic sectors and in food related brands.
Yellow represents happiness, creativity, attention and is commonly encountered in cultural and childhood environments.
And green? Green represents security, hope, ecology, health but also money, which is why it’s so easy to spot it in banking, pharmaceutical or eco-friendly environments.
We could go on like this for every existing colour and get more and more specific, right down to the nuances of every single shade.
In the world of work and marketing, psychology doesn’t just impact on the points related to the analysis of choices and purchases, but extends as far as the relationship with customers themselves in helping them feel better understood and listened to, and more satisfied in the face of indecision or doubts. It’s from these shortcomings that low sales, poor loyalty and negative word of mouth usually derive.
So, here are some tips that will help you establish the right level of trust in your relationships with your clients.
See how psychology is able to apply itself to every little piece of marketing and communication? Take care of your customer in every possible way: you’re there for them, and they’re there for you.