Psychology-Based Marketing Strategies

How to Create Psychology-Based Marketing Strategies

By Sandra D’Souza

When it comes to marketing, whether online or offline, there’s a lot of human psychology involved. After all, consumers purchase products and make decisions based on a number of factors. They don’t simply buy something because someone told them to do so. As such, it is very important for a marketer or business owner to know what makes his target market tick. Otherwise, how can he create compelling content if he doesn’t know why it would be compelling to his audience in the first place?

Understanding human behaviour

Psychology is basically the study of human behaviour, why people act the way they do when presented with a certain stimulus. It is a systematic approach to understanding people’s thoughts, behaviour, and emotions. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and it includes many sub-fields of study, including human development, social behaviour, and cognitive processes.

As a marketer, understanding some key principles in psychology can give you a definite advantage when promoting a product or simply creating brand awareness among your prospects. Because it enables you to create the right content for the right audience, you can attract more prospects, convert more visitors into leads, and leads into customers.


According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” the concept of reciprocity is simple. If someone does something for you, you’ll naturally want to return the favour. But how do you use this simple psychology principle in marketing?

Give away something for free and you will be in a better position to build a closer relationship with your present and future customers. Reciprocity helps promote customer loyalty and enables brands to establish a legion of loyal followers and supporters.

Take note that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to encourage reciprocity. Freebies can be anything from branded shirts and simple novelty items to exclusive ebooks and information about a difficult subject.


Many people are compelled to buy something when they see the line “hurry, for a limited time only” or “only X units left at this price.” What do you think could be the reason behind this? If you’re going to ask psychologists or those with background in economics, they will tell you it’s because of scarcity.

Scarcity creates a sense of urgency. After all, the rarer the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it will be. So when consumers realise that a product or service won’t be available forever, they will naturally grab the chance to claim it for themselves.

Social Proof

While no two persons are exactly alike, people are not entirely immune to what social experts call as “herd mentality.” More often than not, the average person will look for social proof before deciding to do something, like buying a product, for instance.

According to Anna Francis, content manager at My Social Agency, you will find great examples of social proof in your everyday life. “When you visit the grocery store,”
she said, “you’ll typically find a group of people crowding around a floor display and grabbing a certain product. Although some of them may not know what the product is all about, many are still compelled to try if for themselves because everybody is doing it.”

“This situation works online, too, particularly on social media,” Anna added. When people take part in quizzes and post the results, it is very likely their friends and family—everyone they know, basically—will take the same test just to determine what their results would be in comparison.

This psychology principle definitely gives marketers like you the opportunity to spread the word about their brand. When you create something that is unique or interesting, people’s “herd mentality” will compel them to share it with others, thereby, creating a chain reaction that could expose your brand to many people.


But before you take advantage of people’s “herd mentality,” make sure you (or your brand) are indeed someone worth listening or paying attention to. According to Cialdini’s book, humans have a predilection for obeying authority figures. If someone is regarded as a figure of authority, it could be easier for him to convince or influence others.

You can boost your authority and establish thought leadership as a brand by building your credibility. Establish yourself as an expert in your niche or industry. This way, your audience will see that your opinion counts and, therefore, will be more inclined to follow you.

Market research

You can incorporate all the psychology principles you know in your marketing strategies but this won’t necessarily guarantee that they will work all the time, especially if you don’t know who your audience is. To understand basic human behaviour, the first thing you need to do is conduct market research.

Take the time to identify who your target market is by conducting surveys and research. Know their demographics—what age groups your prospects belong to, their educational attainment, and financial status among other things. By obtaining such vital information, you can determine how to develop content that fit and resonate well with your audience. Because your prospects can relate to your marketing pitches, it will be much easier for you to convert them into loyal customers.

Know your competitors

Finding out how your direct competitors operate is a very important aspect of creating a psychology-based marketing strategy. If you know how the competition attracts their target customers and gets a bigger market share, you can determine how you can set yourself apart from them. This will equip you with the knowledge you need to create products, services, or marketing pitches consumers haven’t seen before.

As the great Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu used to say, “Know yourself and your enemies and you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” By knowing your enemies and setting yourself apart from the pack, you will be in a much better position to attract more attention and subsequently generate bigger revenue.


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