People confuse the concept of marketing. While it’s true that marketing is many things, at its core, marketing is psychology applied to influence a market.
Let me explain.
When we drive down the freeway and unintentionally glance at dozens and dozens of billboards and advertisements, what is really happening?
When we watch our favorite television drama and the camera subtly pans the logo of a stunning black sports car as the main character arrives and departs several times per episode, what’s really happening?
When we visit a recommended website that tells a story that’s just like yours, makes you feel known and accepted, let’s you know that it’s not your fault and there’s a better way, what’s really happening?
When you visit a church that plays music that you might choose to listen to if it were on the radio, shows a video clip of a real person overcoming tragedy and offers the support of a group that’s been through what you are going through, what’s really happening?
On a core level, we are all moved by something. Something moves us.
Psychology is the not only the study of the mind and behavior of a person or group, it’s the study of the mind and behavior as it relates to certain stimulus.
This is where marketers can truly benefit from better understanding the human mind. What has been uncovered over thousands of years of study is that human beings have behavior tendencies when subjected to certain circumstances or stimulus.
What has Marketing Psychology done for us?
Marketing Psychology has given us a fair scope of what customers actually go through in route to making a buying decision.
Here is the basic process:
Each of these steps requires a separate page on this site but for now the fact that psychology has given us insight into the process is sufficient to show the power of marketing psychology.
Let’s take for example the idea of beliefs. Beliefs are basically those things we accept to be true. Beliefs have a powerful impact on our psyche and in most cases go on to affect actual physical behavior.
It has been well documented that people who strongly believe that are sick can actually become sick. How could this be? Because our belief systems affect our emotions and emotions can affect our body’s functions, such as stress. It’s not very difficult to see how a belief will impact a person’s physical body.
Let’s consider the idea of money. Everyone has a belief system that surrounds the concept of money. My parents, for instance, believe that rich people cannot be trusted. They believe that people get rich because they take advantage of others and that somehow they are hoarding money. That is to say, if they weren’t so rich there would be more money for less rich people to have.
This belief manifests itself in many different ways. If a larger business wants to expand in the community, my father is automatically prone to consider the smaller competitors of this business to be victims of some conspiracy to destroy all the little people.
When you point out that the expansion of the larger business will bring 100 new jobs to the community as compared to the 10 jobs that are provided by the small competitors who seemingly show no desire or capacity to grow, it falls on deaf ears. My father still believes that the rich big business is out to destroy the good little business owners.
Now, I’m not saying that my father is right or wrong. I’m simply pointing out that his belief system has determined his response to a certain stimulus. The interesting thing about my dad is that he, by all accounts, is pretty well off. It is interesting that he would never admit to being rich, because that would make him a bad person in his own mind.
My father’s belief about money and especially the people who have a lot of it makes a significant impact on his regular life decisions. Although he may admire the beauty of a certain high priced car, he could never own that car no matter how much he wanted one. This is not because he can’t afford it, and not because he is necessarily humble or even frugal: Primarily because owning it would place him into a category of people he has a very low opinion of.
The truth is, we all have these types of beliefs in our life. Perhaps you think a certain way about people of different colors or ethnic backgrounds. Perhaps you think a certain way about workers in unions compared to workers who are not in unions. Perhaps you think a certain way about children from a certain neighborhood or school as compared to those from other schools. The list can go on and on and we all have these beliefs that impact the decisions we make.
What does this have to do with Marketing?
It has just about everything to do with marketing. If the overall goal of marketing is to define your perfect market and develop a message that will move them to take some kind of action, like buy a certain product, then it stands to reason that you should understand what that group of people believe about your product or the problems that your product or service is trying to solves.
Then you must consider what they already believe about you and your company or organization. If a church in a community has been rumored to be a radical group of fanatics and word spreads throughout that community, the church must be aware of this belief so that they can begin to develop a strategy to counter it and sway the community.
If the church simply ignores this community’s belief, it will never reach its potential to do good or spread its message, whether it’s radical or not.
Asking questions like: What does this group of people believe about products or services like ours? It’s a good question. If you are a carpet cleaner who just wants to do a good job of cleaning carpets and earn a good living for your family but you sense a community resistance to carpet cleaners, you should wonder why. Perhaps you find out that there was a criminal who was posing as a carpet cleaner and assaulted several members of a community, even stole several hundred thousand dollars from the elderly.
This type of situation strikes fear in to a community and you, as the carpet cleaner, are now at the core of that fear. What is your best strategy to overcome this issue?
On one hand, you may want to simply avoid that area because it’s too difficult to penetrate that marketing. On the other hand, if you are able to be the first carpet cleaner to gain the trust of this community after such a traumatic circumstance, you could have a built in customer base for life.
The point is, in order to make a business decision, knowing the beliefs of your target is critical. It allows you to formulate your message and the best way to get it to your target audience in an effort to move them to trust and buy your product or service.
Marketing psychology allows you to segment your market into different groups and then cater your message to each group based upon their overall psychological disposition.
By segmenting your markets using criteria such as sex, age, income, geographic location, and other factors – it allows you to evaluate and determine their wants and desires, fears and hopes, needs and pains.
Each of these demographic labels has its own set of something called psychographics. People of a certain age usually think a certain way about a certain thing. Not very poetic but it gets the point across.
Why Marketing Psychology?
Small business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers and sales professionals can do a lot to increase their profits with higher volumes, higher margins and consistent pipelines if they have a better understanding of Marketing Psychology.