From the Inside Out: Leveraging Behavioral Insights in Marketing

We all know that marketing is rooted in psychology. We want to encourage people, whether through intellect, emotions, or both, that they should buy what we’re selling. The cutsie term for this is giving them a ‘nudge’. It’s founded on the awkward truth that just having a great product often isn’t enough to competitively sell. The question we’re faced with is just how far we can make someone buy something. Thankfully, the answer is that we can’t really. A better, more ethical way of framing the question is this: how can we position our marketing efforts to better reflect what people actually want? How can our messaging better speak to the real desires of consumers?

Marketing is rooted in psychology

As we learn progressively more about the way our brains work, the research is opening up new approaches to marketing, in that it’s giving marketers, including internet marketing agencies in Orange County new tools to match businesses up with their ideal clients.

As we said, the product itself is only one of the many things that help to “make up a person’s mind” about buying. A typical example of this is wine. Studies have shown that people who pay $80 for a bottle of wine rate the taste higher than wine they pay $10 for—even if it’s the same wine. That’s because price perception can be more persuasive than value perception, in particular for luxury items. Branching out from this, there are any number of ideas, biases, and preferences that make up a customer’s buying habits.

The Nonconscious

The wine example shows that conscious preconceptions can have a deep impact on our purchases, but it goes deeper. A field of study has opened to research nonconscious choices, and shows greater power to gain insight into what people are really thinking when they make choices.

What is the difference between nonconscious research and traditional market research like surveys? While a survey can give you useful insights for marketing decisions, these behavioral insights are limited by the degree to which the person is answering truthfully to the decision they would make. Nonconscious research measures things like biometric data, eye movement, and more—things which don’t depend on the conscious participant. Through its more clinical approach, nonconscious research can open us up to learning about buying behaviors, rather than preferences, which can be biased, and situational.

Campbell’s soup recently did nonconscious research ahead of a major label redesign. By measuring brain activity, eye tracking and more, researchers were able to find out major insights, such as a bowl of soup with steam rising from it more often engaged consumers than labels without the soup. For Campbell’s, the method worked much better than asking them, “What type of soup label do you prefer looking at?” Most people simply don’t think about such things on a conscious level, and therefore may not be able to answer accurately. Their behaviors, however, never lie.

This tendency opens us up to a wide range of far more nuanced possibilities for the world of marketing, because nonconscious factors play a big role in our actions, and sort through the irrational influences that drive actions. The archetypical example of such irrational behavioral connections is the weather. Studies have shown that purchases—notably, big purchases like sports cars—are more likely to be made when the weather is nice, and are less common when it’s looking gloomy.

Still, a consumer’s nonconscious preferences are often one of the last things that are considered when it comes down to positioning a product for market—most probably because of how hard it’s been historically to get useful data. Thankfully, that’s changing. Internet marketing agencies in Orange County are, or will soon be able to design campaigns with the use of behavioral science and neuroscience to create materials and messaging that speaks to what people really want to hear.

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