The 4 Key Marketing Triggers That Influence Behavior

Neil Henry / Marketing Leave a Comment

Psychology is the study of human behavior. Marketing aims to influence human behavior. Does it not then stand to reason that psychology and marketing go hand-in-hand?

Which leads me to the best example of psychology in marketing I’ve seen in recent times. As mentioned in this article, and the fact that an amazingly slick, unerringly poignant video can make a very average (old) car seem like an attractive proposition. It’s very clever.

The fact the YouTube video itself has clocked up more than 7 million views to date is nothing short of remarkable too!


It highlights how fascinating the psychology of marketing is. So with that in mind I thought I’d discuss a few commonly employed tactics that work brilliantly today:

1. Focus On Consumer Benefits, Not Product Features

When companies create new products, they tend to want to highlight all the exciting features that are incorporated. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t resonate with consumers all that well. They only resonate if prospects and customers think ‘hey, that directly relates to a problem for I’m having’.

What good marketers do is take all those features and translate them into tangible benefits for the consumer – something that has a psychological component, not just a USP.

So, for example, while a computer might have oodles of RAM and a super fastest processor, what does that actually mean for consumers outside of the small percentage that are savvy enough to know about benchmarking and diagnostic testing? It means they can multitask and save time, watch video without interruption and play games. It also means their new computer isn’t going to become obsolete in the near future, which will save them money and hassle associated with upgrading in short order.

Sell benefits, not features.

2. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

In marketing, powerful visual stimuli go a long way. Not only are pictures processed faster than text by the human brain, they can also help convey deeper meaning and powerful messages.

How many times have you been searching online for a particular product and found several retailers offering it for virtually the same price? When there’s little to choose between them, do you opt for the one that has multiple images, maybe even a video? Chances are you do. It’s a major reason why Google has gone visual with banners and shopping Ads.

Social networks are increasingly busy places too. Posts that simply comprise a block of text have far less chance of standing out from the crowd than their counterparts that contain striking images or a powerful video message. And at a time when organic reach on social is declining rapidly, visual format Ads with a powerful image or video are over 300x more likely to convert than a pure text Ad.

Sell an image, not just words.

3. Promote Exclusivity

Near the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid are the esteem needs of privilege and the feeling of accomplishment. These psychological needs are closely linked to marketing in the case of exclusivity. Making people feel special.

How many times have you seen companies use an iteration of the phrase, “exclusive offer to the first 100 customers”? It’s a simple, very effective way to garner interest in a particular offer by reaching out to a person’s sense of self-esteem and their need to feel “exclusive”.

This particular technique also works because it creates scarcity and urgency. At the end of the day, people don’t like feeling left out!

Sell privilege, not standard.

4. Decisions Are Ultimately Based On Emotions

As much as we all like to think we make decisions based on logic, the reality is that they are nearly always made based on emotions. Even when armed with dozens of facts and irrefutable data, people still dig their heels in and refuse to budge.

This is because decision making is rarely logical, it’s emotional.

Which is why understanding your target audience is paramount when you’re a marketing professional. You’ll experience more success when you identify the real factors that are driving them to make decisions. What influences their thought process, mood and emotional responses.

Sell emotion, not apathy.