Marketing: Is it magic or is it psychology?

In order to successfully improve their marketing results, marketing professionals try to analyse the human thoughts and behaviour of their consumers which in turn allows them to effectively appeal to their target markets. This incredibly useful concept is called “marketing psychology” and is all the rage across the industry. If you are a budding or seasoned marketer, you don’t want to miss out.

Here are 5 effective principles of marketing psychology that every marketer should know about:



In simple terms, priming occurs when people experience something, such as a sound or a word, that affects their perception of the next object they see. For instance, if someone shows you the colour and asks you to make a flower, you will most likely think of daffodils or marigolds. In marketing, the process of priming is very straightforward: you must provide your customers with a positive sensory stimulus (bonus tip: generally, sight) before they make their final purchasing decision. Make sure that you use words, sounds and images to steer your customers in the right direction. For example, featuring an aesthetically pleasing photograph of your product will encourage customers to purchase it.



This principle refers to people’s natural tendency to return a favor. In marketing, this can be achieved by taking proactive steps and offering your customers small conveniences or tokens to encourage them to return the favor by making a purchase. The best way to use this principle to your benefit is to offer your customers free items. This allows you to get closer to your audience, develop brand loyalty, and gain marketing data. For example, Surfer SEO offers you free SEO tools and Surfer Academy with video tutorials, Q&A sessions and lots of helpful tips.



The Decoy Effect helps marketers with the trickiest aspect of any marketing equation: pricing. In simple terms, this is when consumers change their preference between two options if they are presented with a third option, the “decoy”. This is also known as the “asymmetric dominance effect” and is cunningly effective. This is intended to nudge consumers towards the third option, the marketers’ intended target.



Loss Aversion refers to the tendency of people to avoid losses more than making equivalent gains. In marketing, this applies to how consumers often try very hard to keep something after they purchase or earn it. Marketers can use this phenomenon to their advantage by offering their consumers discounts, coupons, free trials, product samples, and following up on consumers with incomplete orders or shopping carts.



Any budding or established marketer should be aware of how people generally associate specific colours with specific ideas and feelings. This helps consumers develop an appropriately positive attitude towards your products and, by extension, your company. This can be used for broader purposes such as your brand logo or brand colours, but must also be modified depending on your individual products and campaigns. For example, green tones signify an eco-friendly, healthy choice, which is why Whole Foods uses it in their logo.


These principles may seem tricky, but once they are properly understood, they will work wonders. If you are a consumer, identifying these principles may prevent you from making an unnecessary decision. Either way, everyone wins!