Consumer psychology is an increasingly important topic in marketing and social psychology discussions in the digital age. When assessing the process of making products appealing to consumers, marketers are seeking to understand why people respond the way they do. Consumer psychology looks at these reactions in the context of studying the human brain. Degree programs that focus on consumer psychology, such as Master of Science in Applied Psychology degrees, are helping to prepare the marketers of the future.
Meshing Psychology and Marketing
Although most marketing professionals aren’t professionals in psychology, more are looking at the field of consumer psychology as a way to prepare for a successful marketing career. Marketers must use psychological principles to attract and engage customers. Consumer behavior focuses on “the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.”
Companies in the competitive and global world today need to understand their customers when developing and marketing new products. Whereas a more traditional approach to marketing may have identified that a product appeals to consumers in a certain demographic, today businesses are digging deeper to understand why consumers act in certain ways, as well as what influences shape the way they might react to situations.
Consumer choice historically was often driven by corporate imperatives. Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it’s black.” Today, consumers have access to many more options than they used to, giving them more control to demand products and services that meet their needs. Studying consumer behavior and preference involves how customers use and dispose of products as well as how they make decisions to purchase products. Consumer-driven psychology and marketing can alter the positioning of a product in the marketplace and can even alter the design of the products themselves.
There are many ways to apply consumer behavior, but a few are designing effective social marketing campaigns, development of marketing strategies, and conducting research on consumer insights.
Social Marketing Campaigns
Social media has become one of the most popular ways to market products and services to consumers, and this trend is likely to continue. Mobile devices make it easier than ever to stay connected through social media at all times, which means that marketers have opportunities to reach more people at any given moment. Marketers often focus on getting an idea out to a consumer as a first touch instead of pushing a sales pitch when using social media marketing.
As potential customers scroll through a feed of information, there are only a few seconds at most to catch their eye. Since people tend to skip past blatant marketing campaigns, rarely clicking on ads, giving an informational pitch may appeal to more users. Social media has a different purpose for consumers. Users seek connection through this platform, and the typical advertisements designed for television are inappropriate for this medium. Designing social media campaigns that make psychological connections with customers and potential customers is the wave of the future.
Developing a Marketing Strategy
The tools of consumer psychology can form the basis for developing a strategic marketing plan for a new product or company. In particular, data-driven planning that accounts for the psychology of consumers is increasingly important in this digital and global age. For example, modern consumers typically do not respond to negative marketing campaigns. Customers who see a company speak negatively about the competition may reconsider whether that brand deserves their loyalty.
Instead of spending time and resources criticizing the competition, a psychological understanding of consumers can point to a repositioning of the marketing message. A focus on the positives of a product or brand, such as emphasizing that it fills a high-value, different need than others in the market, may be more productive as a strategy. Positioning a product as the top choice without much competition takes advantage of consumer psychology and avoids engaging in negative campaigns.
Emotions play a major role in our lives. Appealing to them in a positive way can transform the way you market to customers. Research shows that making someone feel important and included is more likely to generate a better response. The American Cancer Society included the phrase “even a penny will help” in its fundraising campaigns, resulting in 50 percent of people making donations to the cause. Campaigns that didn’t appeal as much to human emotions showed that only 29 percent of people made donations.
Marketing strategies that are based on a solid understanding of consumer psychology will be more effective in today’s world.
Consumer Insights Research
Data about consumer perceptions is becoming increasingly valuable. With the growth of big data, information abounds about how consumers make decisions, how they shop, and what matters to them. Conducting surveys about consumer perceptions is a significant application of consumer psychology. These surveys, which are increasingly fielded on line and at the point of sale, enable a company to understand its strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of the consumer. Data scientists who are trained in consumer psychology are able to provide insight about the consumer mindset to corporate leadership in many departments.
The marketing industry is moving toward a stronger focus on what consumers expect and what will appeal to them. Marketing departments across all industries throughout the country are making more of an effort to understand their customers through psychological principles instead of simply creating flashy content and campaigns.
Consumer psychology and marketing involve scientific study and careful analysis to better understand why people react to certain situations in specific ways and how to best capitalize on those reactions. Learning more about the psychology of decision-making and buying habits can strengthen marketing efforts while giving consumers what they want.
For this reason, contemporary marketing positions increasingly benefit from training in consumer psychology. Learn more about the online Master of Science in Applied Psychology degree, a unique program focused on understanding consumer mindsets and other applications of psychology in business.
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