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The Psychology of Marketing: Improving Your Tactics

As a marketing firm or a business owner looking to improve your marketing tactics, one of the main things that you should understand is what the driving force behind a successful marketing campaign.

What most don’t realize is that the success of a marketing campaign is not based solely on the nature of the campaign, the funds poured into the campaign, or the design of the campaign.

The success of a marketing campaign is really based upon psychology and how well the marketing campaign utilizes psychological tactics in order to attract and retain a consumer base. Below are a number of psychology pointers that every business or marketing firm should know to get ahead and solidify their next marketing campaign.

The Reciprocity Principle

The reciprocity principle is used somewhat frequently in marketing, but not frequently enough because many marketing firms and brands are unable to truly grasp the power of this effect. According to this principle, the basic concept is that people naturally want to do things for those who do things for them.

In terms of marketing, this translates to the idea that if a brand gives their customers something for free or at a discounted price, then the brand is going to gain the customer’s loyalty or purchasing power in return. While you don’t need to use the reciprocity principle frequently, you should use it at moments where you are looking to build customer loyalty.

If giving away a freebie isn’t the way your brand prefers to operate, then you can even take a more simple approach. For instance, you could give your customers a personalized thank you note, a brand t-shirt, or some other small trinket showing how much you value your customer and appreciate their business.

Positive Affirmation for Your Brand

The power of social media is endless, especially social media that allows for a high level of positive engagement. Take Facebook for example – on Facebook, brands are constantly posting and gathering “likes” for their customers. The “likes” do much more than indicate that a person has an affinity for a certain brand.

When a person “likes” your brand they are building positive affirmation and also relaying to their friends and family their positive attitudes towards your brand. The more positivity your brand generates, the greater the chance that more individuals will feel comfortable choosing your brand over other brands. Therefore, one of your main goals for your band should be to foster a high level of social media engagement that is positive.

The Recency Illusion

This type of marketing tactic is primarily used among the larger brands who can invest the funds to make a strong and aggressive marketing campaign. In this type of marketing campaign, a brand uses the psychology of the recency illusion, which essentially means that when a consumer sees a brand over and over again, they are more likely to purchase that brand or at least try that brand out.

If your brand is able to invest the capital and try bombardment as a marketing campaign, the campaign has a high chance of being successful since people are more likely to purchase products that they see often.

General Ideas Rather than Small Details

Unfortunately, many brands have the tendency to focus on the small details of their brand rather than the general idea. This type of approach has the opposite effect from what most would expect. The verbatim effect indicates that the consumer tends to notice the larger and more general details much better than the smaller and less important once.

As a result of this effect, the most effective thing for you to do during your marketing campaigns is to create a large and general picture using the smaller details instead of simply just focusing on the smaller details. The smaller details are going to be forgotten while the larger ones are going to be remembered when a consumer thinks about your brand.

Create a Loss Aversion Effect

Studies have shown that most people are highly averse to loss – whether it be monetary or otherwise. This means that when an individual invests in a brand, they will do so most comfortably when they are aware that the risk is extremely low that they will lose out. In most cases, this type of scenario applies mostly to services or high-end products.

When individuals purchase a service or a high end product, they want to be fully aware that there will be a return on their investment and the return will be worthwhile. Thus, as you market your brand, you should do so in a way that helps potential customers understand that your product is not risky but actually provides the benefit that they are looking for when they make the large investment.

The Social Influence

Finally, it is important to note that today’s generation is far more socially conscious than ever. This means that whatever most consumers do, they like to do it with the satisfaction that their efforts are having some sort of positive impact. For example, consumers are more prone to buy brands that will save them money, help the environment, or simply help them be more socially upstanding citizens.

If your brand can be framed in a way that provides a positive social impact, then you may want to consider this type of avenue as a marketing tactic next time you develop a marketing campaign. Try telling consumers just how your brand can help them or what type of impact your brand can have when your consumer buys.


At the end of the day, psychology plays a significant role in your marketing campaign, whether you realize it or not. By understanding the psychology behind marketing campaigns, you can more easily develop a campaign that is effective and that truly reaches your consumer on a deeper level.

Once you master the psychology of marketing, you can make your next marketing campaign one that all of your consumers are going to remember and act upon.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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