7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing - psychology - 2023



Psychology is a discipline that is applied in many areas: sports, school or companies.

Within this last context we find Psychology applied to Marketing, which is key to understanding how the human mind works and is essential to persuading consumers to purchase our products or services.

Keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising

Any good Marketing strategy cannot forget how consumers think, what needs they have and what their motivations are. Therefore, Psychology is a basic pillar in the world of Marketing and Advertising.

In the following lines you can find 7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising.

1. Emotional marketing

Emotional intelligence is one of the great paradigms of current Psychology, because emotions affect our well-being and our behavior in a decisive way. Most people think that the decisions we make are based on a rational analysis of the alternatives that are presented to us, an idea that the psychologist Antonio Damasio, in his book, "Descartes's error," claims he does not share.

For Damasio, "emotions are crucial in almost all the decisions we make, since these, which are associated with previous experiences, set values ​​for the options we are considering." In other words, emotions create preferences that lead us to opt for one option or another.

Emotional Marketing is applied in branding, in the strategies for customer loyalty, in business stories, etc.

  • If you want to delve into this topic, you can do so in our article "Emotional Marketing: reaching the customer's heart"

2. Classical and instrumental conditioning

The classical and instrumental conditioning are two key concepts to understand behavioral psychology, and are present in our learning, our behavior and, of course, in the world of Marketing.

Classical conditioning, popularized by John Watson with the help of Ivan Pavlov, can be seen in the advertising world when pleasant situations or attributes are highlighted that are not necessarily linked to the characteristics of a product or service. It is not strange to come across similar products from different brands that provoke different emotional experiences for users through branding.

Now, when the real characteristics of the product and service are explained, the instrumental or operant conditioning model is used. In other words, when a product really presents differences in quality with respect to its competitors, instrumental conditioning is effective. For example, letting you try the product or giving a sample of it.

3. Motivation

Motivation is an intrinsic force that guides us and allows us to maintain behaviors aimed at achieving a goal or satisfying a need. Many psychologists have been interested in the study of motivation, since it is a basic principle in the behavior of human beings. Motivation also affects decision making.

For this reason it is applied in the field of Marketing, since understanding and influencing motivation will result in increased purchase of products and services by consumers. For example, if we detect through a survey that a user is motivated to buy a vehicle, there is a greater probability that he can buy one of our products if we are dedicated to the automotive sector. This technique is widely used today. An example of this is the use of "cookies", which allow tracking the habits and concerns of potential customers.

  • Related article: "Types of motivation: the 8 motivational sources"

4. Zeigarnik effect: creating expectations and suspense

The Zeigarnik effect is closely related to expectations, and it owes its name to Bluma Zeigarnik, a Gestalt School psychologist, who realized that unfinished tasks tend to generate discomfort and intrusive thoughts in us. In the world of Marketing the Zeigarnik Effect is a technique used to attract customers, which is used in different situations. For example, in movie trailers.

It is common to see in some television series a small summary of the next chapter at the end of the program, to create suspense and provoke the need to know how the scenes that have been previously shown us end. This is called "cliffhangers" and is based on the Zeigarnik effect.

5. Persuasion

The psychology of persuasion is one of the key elements of marketing. This branch of social psychology aims to study human behavior to understand what are the reasons that make people modify their behaviors under external influence. Although often confused with manipulation, persuasion is an art that consists of convincing people to act in a certain way.

There are a number of elements that are essential for effective persuasive communication. For example, reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, friendliness, and credibility.

  • You can learn more about this concept in our article: "Persuasion: definition and elements of the art of convincing"

6. Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a discipline that studies the mind, brain and consumer behavior and how to influence it to achieve more sales. Therefore, it brings scientific advances in Psychology and Neurosciences closer to the discipline of Marketing.

Understanding the functioning of attention, perception or memory and how these processes affect people, their tastes, personality and needs, allows to carry out a more effective Marketing. There are many applications of Neuromarketing, as you can see in our articles:

  • Neuromarketing has a lot of future
  • Neuromarketing: your brain knows what it wants to buy

7. Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a concept closely linked to social psychology. The psychologist Leon Festinger proposed this theory, which explains how people try to maintain their internal consistency. In other words, we all have a strong inner need that pushes us to ensure that our beliefs, attitudes and behavior are consistent with each other. When this does not happen, discomfort and disharmony appear, something we strive to avoid.

Cognitive dissonance is very present in Marketing, which explains why many times we choose products that we don't really need and make purchases that are not always coherent. In fact, any consumer who is not satisfied with the product he has just obtained or knows how useful it will be experiences cognitive dissonance. It may happen that, when choosing a purchase, we question the whys, and look for explanations that justify our action. Human beings are like that, and cognitive dissonance is present in many of the decisions we make and how we behave.

  • Related article: "Cognitive dissonance: the theory that explains self-deception"