Undoubtedly, marketing psychology is the study of human behavior and how consumers react to
marketing and advertising, engage with brands, and ultimately decide how to spend their money.
Psychology is used in marketing by businesses so they can understand how consumers make purchasing
decisions. They can then devise strategies to meet those behaviors and trigger specific actions. A
psychological marketing strategy taps into consumers’ subconscious to appeal to them to take specific
actions, be it making a purchase or converting in some other way. In the following we will look at what
influences purchasing decisions, and how brands and marketers can create campaigns to cater to these
1. Reciprocity In-Action
The principle of reciprocity in action can be achieved in the following examples:
Have you ever gone to Costco and ended up with an unplanned sausage purchase
because you felt an obligation to buy after you tried a free sample?
Wellness brand Anima Mundi Apothecary incentivizes conversions and higher cart values
by offering free samples once shoppers reach a certain dollar amount.
Underwear brand Boody taps into this principle with its marketing efforts through a fun
blog post breaking down the differences between brief and bikini underwear—two
products the brand sells itself.
COOLA, which sells sunscreen and other sun-related skin care products, taps into the
psychology of buying by helping potential customers figure out the right SPF and product
for them with an interactive quiz. This also gives the brand insightful data into its
2. Social Proof In-Action
The principle of social proof in action can be achieved in the following examples:
Gluten-free vegan snack brand Partake Foods is a merchant that frequently uses
customer reviews on its website.
One approach to using social proof on social media is to partner with an influencer,
creator, or celebrity. That’s exactly what HELM Boots does. By highlighting Liz Lambert in
a pair of its boots, the brand has given it a sheen of desirability.
Pet care brand Pawtitas has adopted this approach on its product pages. Scroll down
beneath the photos and description, and you’ll see a carousel of items others were
interested in after looking at the main product.
Stores can play off that idea by presenting products that are similar to what the person is
browsing. Amazon is famous for this approach. It has two ways to show other products
that are popular among shoppers.
3. Scarcity In-Action
The principle of scarcity in action can be achieved in the following examples:
The example from women’s fashion brand Valija shows a promotional website banner
highlighting its “limited time only” buy one, get one free sale.
Every March when my friend gets her green Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s, she
crows with happiness all over social media. She wouldn’t be nearly as excited if she
could walk in and get it any time—the knowledge that supply is limited motivates her and
creates a thrill around exclusivity.
That’s exactly how I feel about my pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, and Starbucks
knows other customers feel the same way.
Fashion designer Tery D’Ciano has basically found business success on this principle
alone. She makes every item by hand and purchases a limited number of supplies to
execute, so every drop has a limited quantity of items for purchase—you have to get the
new designs before they sell out!
4. Pricing In-Action
The principle of pricing in action can be achieved in the following examples:
This bundle of items is available at a flat price for shoppers. In some cases, you might
discount the bundled pricing. In others, you might add markup to accommodate extras
like gift wrapping.
You might also package this bundle in a nice gift basket or box so the customer doesn’t
have to worry about wrapping it either.
Customers may be able to get a discount if they purchase all the items at once—if you
sell hair care, for example, you might bundle shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel together
for a small discount.
Shoppers might be trying to decide between two of your items, so you can offer product
and price comparisons to help. This is exactly what Prolux Cleaners does on its product
5. Loss Aversion In-Action
The principle of loss aversion in action can be achieved in the following examples:
For example, by using appeals to authority, you decrease the risk of a “yes.” Someone
who says yes (to your appeal to buy a product) can always point to the authority you’ve
demonstrated to rationalize their purchase.
With scarcity, there’s an inherent increase in the risk of a “no.” Someone who declines an
offer now might miss out down the line.
The homepage banner from Pourri, for example, does an effective job at addressing
both. It highlights the pain point of bad pet odor and how life without its products is
Then the copy talks about how its product Pet-Pourri can eliminate those odors and leave
you with a fresh-smelling space—the gain.
6. Commitment and Consistency In-Action
The principle of commitment and consistency in action can be achieved in the following
That’s why if you’re trying to make a change in your life (losing weight, for example) it can
be very helpful to share your goal. Once you’ve committed publicly, you’ll have much
more incentive to keep up your end of the bargain.
In one study conducted by Narvar, nearly three-quarters of consumers said they’d be
more likely to buy from a company that has a “no questions asked” returns policy.
Zappos and REI are two brands with famously easy return policies that are great
examples of this.
This is the principle behind Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program.
7. Warby Parker In-Action
Warby Parker knows that with a product that sits in your line of vision all day (literally), look and fit
are important. However:
It also knows that if it can get a set of frames in your hands, it’s a majority of the way
toward making a sale—that’s the power of understanding the psychology of shopping.
Warby Parker accordingly makes it as frictionless as possible: Order the samples, get the
box, order the frames you want, and send the box back for free.
They say there’s no commitment, but they’re wise students of Cialdini.
They know the customer feels the commitment the minute they open the box.
8. Online Store Owner In-Action
As an online store owner, you have a series of obstacles to overcome and these are:
First, you have to build your brand and launch a user-friendly website.Then, you need to drive traffic to that website.And after all that work, you still have to convince visitors through effective product
pages, copywriting, and photography to make a purchase from your website.
If you read sales or marketing books, you may be familiar with Robert Cialdini’s Influence
for this book defines and explores key areas of psychological persuasion for brands to
9. Triggering Sales In-Action
Struggling to grow sales? Learn how to go from first day to first sale in this free training courses:
In this blog we adapted for you Robert Cialdini’s ideas and added some more to the that
Sprinkle these marketing psychology techniques throughout your site and watch your
sales go up.
Get to know Marketing psychology FAQs: What is marketing psychology, how is
psychology used in marketing, why do we need psychology in marketing and what is a
psychological marketing strategy?
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