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Four Ways Psychology Influences Marketing Strategies

It’s no surprise that companies use psychological strategies to market to individuals. After all, what better way is there to sell products than by understanding why humans decide to purchase them in the first place?

Here are four ways that psychology influences marketing strategies.

1. Foot-in-the-Door technique

The foot-in-the-door technique describes a situation in which an individual might commit to a small request from a company which leads to building the appearance of camaraderie between a consumer and a company that may eventually lead to commitments to larger requests.

According to Psychologist World, “We might comply with a small initial request as it is easier than refusing it and risking confrontation..”

An example of this can be seen in free trials for streaming services. Many streaming companies offer a period of time during which potential subscribers can enjoy amenities for free. The catch? These individuals must input their payment methods before trying out the service.

Furthermore, when streaming companies raise their prices, many subscribers accept those changes because they don’t want to go without the streaming service.

2. Inciting emotional reactions

Incitement of emotional reactions in consumers is a common and effective marketing strategy often found in advertising videos.

But one of the best strategies of this kind of marketing can be found in evoking nostalgia.

According to Psychology Today, “Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand-name products. [...] The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.”

Think about some of the most recent movies that have been released in the last decade. Disney is pushing out live-action remake after live-action remake. The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Barbie were both released earlier this year, relying heavily on nostalgia in order to encourage box office sales; a strategy that was extremely successful.

It’s obvious that familiar, time-tested products are appreciated by consumers.

3. Social proof

According to Sprout Social, “[W]hen people shop, they look for reviews, recommendations and ways that others have used a product before making their decision. This is why online stores work so hard to get people to review their products.”

This phenomenon is called social proof, and it has evolved with the rise of social media influencers.

This strategy works because humans are tuned to follow others. If a celebrity who appears to have no flaws appearance-wise recommends using a certain beauty product, consumers are going to assume that they will look like that celebrity if they use the product.

We’re all just creatures of imitation.

4. Scarcity

We’re constantly hounded by scarcity. DoorDash is offering 40% off if you order something this weekend. Old Navy is having a 30% off sale for all jeans next week. Five other Etsy customers have the product you want to buy in their carts, and there are only four of that product in stock.

According to Explore Psychology, “[In the U.S., Black Friday] relies on the scarcity technique to [draw] shoppers into the stores. Since the sale only [lasts] one day and many items are limited on a first-come, first-served basis, people know that if they don’t get to the store and buy the items they want, they may not be able to get them later.”

Marketers use this strategy to encourage consumers to act fast. They want to make a sale as soon as possible.

And we all fall for it.

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