Marketing Psychology & Consumer Behavior Strategy

Many marketers know the importance of defining an audience, identifying a target market, and figuring out your messaging. They spend a lot of time thinking about taglines and imagery, buying media spots, or deciding who is going to do a specific voiceover. The agency employs all its creative juices in an effort to get that ad to go viral, and when it finally launches it’s nice, but it doesn’t really move the needle. Why not?

While all of these components of an ad are important, they miss a far more important underlying aspect of marketing and advertising: consumer psychology (it goes by other names as well, including marketing psychology, market psychology, and behavioral marketing). It’s not a new concept—the term “consumer psychology” first appeared in the 1950s and the American Psychological Association opened a Consumer Psychology Division in 1960—but 60 years later, it’s still not always well understood.

So what is marketing psychology?

Simply put, it’s the why behind a consumer’s decision to do something. You already know what you want them to do—buy your product, engage with your brand, sign up for your service. Now you need to figure out exactly which factors will influence their decision and to what degree. A deeper understanding of consumer decision-making allows a marketing company to reach your audience with the right message at the right time to spur the desired action.

There are famous examples of times when brands simply got it wrong in their ad campaigns (the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial comes to mind), while others manage to get it so right, coming in with the right message and the right visuals just at the right time. What’s the difference? Often, it’s the time an advertising agency spends before any creative work is done. Understanding the full spectrum of reasons behind a consumer decision can help brands figure out the right path to take and the right creative strategy to employ.

Marketing psychology isn’t easy, but we can make it easier

Successful marketing campaigns are about more than just whether you should run ads on Mondays or Thursdays, behavioral targeting, or which advertising medium will work best (although we take these things into consideration too), they are about your customers’ age and background, their personal habits, and their education levels. They are also about the subconscious factors that affect decisions—like the colors and the imagery you use, called color psychology marketing—and when it’s best to employ emotions like fear or humor to sell a product or build a brand.

If this seems a little overwhelming and you’re wondering whether you need to go back to school for a degree in psychology, that’s where we come in. We know that most marketing professionals and business owners don’t have an extensive background in behavioral targeting or market psychology, but we do. We spend a lot of time digging into the unique aspects of your audience and their journey to fully understand which approach is most likely to work.

Use psychology and marketing to your advantage

Check out some of our work, or drop us a line to find out how we can help build your brand by integrating psychology and marketing into your advertising plans.