The science behind consumer behaviour

One of the best-kept-secrets to marketing success is understanding marketing psychology – how (and why) people think and act the way they do. So you can create engaging content that connects with your audience and leads to business success.

So we’ll let you into the secret, by revealing marketing psychology that works:

Top 9 Marketing Psychology Tips

1) Priming

Priming is all about brand association. If you repeatedly show consumers positive messages or images about your product or brand, it will influence how they perceive it.

For example, if a brand always talks about how healthy its snacks are, people might think of them as a healthy choice when they see them in the store. By priming consumers with positive associations, you can make your products seem more appealing and encourage sales.

Healthy Menu Recipe Food Diet

2) Reciprocity

Another interesting one is reciprocity – people feel more inclined to do something for you, if you do something for them first.

This concept by psychologist Cialdini works well in hospitality, but can work in all industries. His research found that restaurants who served a mint with the bill received better tips. With one mint, the tip increased by 3.3% and with two mints it increased by a massive 20%.

A simple giveaway or offering free trial services, will encourage your customers to take up your offers and engage with your brand.


3) Decoy effect

A good example of the decoy effect is in pricing, upselling your customer by offering a middle option to make the higher priced deal seem more appealing.

For instance:

  • Online subscription: £59
  • Print subscription: £125
  • Online and print subscription: £125

A recent study found that without the middle option most people chose the cheaper option, but with the middle option added most people upgraded to the higher-priced option, perceiving it as the best value for money.


4) Scarcity

Scarcity is another Cialdini concept – making people aware there’s only a few left, or only a few left at this price, creates a sense of urgency and people will quickly snap up your offers.

Essentially it’s a case of supply and demand – the more rare the opportunity, content or product is, the more valuable it is.

red love freestanding letters on gray brick floor

5) The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion, comes into effect when you hear about a product and then start seeing it everywhere you look.

It happens when you are struck by a new product, word or concept, then you subconsciously keep an eye out for it and are surprised by how often you see it, confirming in your own mind its popularity, making you want the product more. Regular attention-grabbing email campaigns, content and adverts can trigger this phenomenon and increase brand exposure.


6) Social proof

Social proof, often driven by the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), is a powerful psychological concept in marketing. When people see others they like or trust endorsing a brand, they are more likely to try it themselves.

Creating shareable content for socials, will help to increase your followers and make your brand more visible, leveraging the power of social proof to attract new customers.


7) Clustering

Most people can only remember seven pieces of information at a time (give or take two). People tend to cluster words together to help remember them, like mentally grouping similar shopping list items together.

Grouping your content together in similar topics, using bullet points to make your content easier to scan can help your customers remember it.


8) Loss aversion

Loss aversion can be a powerful marketing tool, as once people have access to something they really don’t want to lose it.

For instance, if you offer a usually paid for service as part of a free trial, or for a limited time, people won’t want to give it up and will usually upgrade to pay for the service, instead of missing out on it.


9) Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing has unveiled crucial insights into consumer behaviour using brain imaging techniques like fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography). Studies reveal that emotional engagement significantly influences decision-making, with specific neural pathways lighting up in response to various marketing stimuli.

Brain study background for mental health care medical technology

Connecting with your consumer, through your storytelling and by understanding and addressing their pain points, can help form strong emotional connections, a sense of belonging and brand loyalty.

Neuromarketing research also highlights how much of consumer decision-making is subconscious. It reveals how subtle cues, such as colour, typography, imagery and language, can influence consumers’ perceptions, preferences and purchase decisions without their conscious awareness.

It just goes to show the long-lasting power the right marketing can have.


For a free virtual marketing ideas session with marketing experts, call us on 01962 600 147 or email