5 psychology tips to make your marketing work harder

Estimated reading time
4 minutes
1st September 2021
Author: Nick Mason
Posted in: Psychology & Science

Want to get inside the minds of your audience? Here are five of our favorite marketing psychology tips to get you started.

1. The secret to irresistible discounts 🍰

Which would you prefer?

a) a 10% discount resulting in a $5 saving


b) a 5% discount resulting in a $5 saving

Even though both scenarios offer a $5 saving, most of us would choose option A. In a study on value and framing, psychologists Kahneman and Tversky found that participants were drawn to large discounts (even when the financial savings remained the same). They discovered that it’s not just the financial side of discounts that makes them appealing, but a psychological side too. Irresistible discounts have three main cognitive components: they are well deserved, controllable, and completely predictable. Read more on this here.

2. How to copy and paste your way to success 🖨

In psychology, the ‘false consensus effect’ refers to our tendency to think that everyone around us shares our opinions and level of knowledge. It’s why we imagine that most people want to live in the outskirts of the city if we like living in the outskirts, for example.

While this cognitive bias can help us navigate the overwhelming number of different opinions and perspectives in the world, it can also hold us back from learning from those around us.

Katy Milkman, the host of the popular behavioral economics podcast Choiceology, says that the false consensus effect prevents us from using the copy and paste behavioral change method. This is simply the practice of deliberately copying others in order to achieve a particular behavior or goal we want to reach. Studies found that participants who use this technique were able to find habits that better suited their lifestyle and foster successful behavior change. More here.

3. Marketing psychology behind clickbait 😮

These days, we all know the hallmarks of clickbait. ‘You won’t believe…’ or ‘The truth behind…’ headlines are clear indicators of articles that are designed to be irresistible. While clickbait has been generally relegated to the lower tiers of marketing, there’s plenty we can learn from why these headlines and articles are so effective at capturing our curiosity.

For instance, a cross-lingual study of emotions and viral articles found that there’s a formula for clickbait. This type of writing plays on a combination of three emotions in particular. These are:

  • Valence: the intrinsic attractiveness or bad-ness of something
  • Arousal: how much something stirs or motivates us to act
  • Dominance: how in control we feel when we read a piece of content

Effective clickbait draws on all three of these to make us emotionally invested in the article. Find more secrets to mastering virality and the art of clickbait here.

4. Concrete language boosts customer spend by 13% 😇

One of life’s common complaints is customer service. When speaking with a sales rep, customer success manager, or support team member, many of us feel unheard and frustrated. But it turns out that you don’t need a grand strategy to boost customer satisfaction – you just need to change a few words.

An analysis of 1000 customer-employee interactions found that customers are more satisfied and willing to buy when employees speak to them using descriptive language instead of abstract words. For example, describing an iPhone concretely as a ‘phone’ instead of abstractly as a ‘product’ or ‘device.’ In marketing psychology simply using a few more concrete words when talking to a customer increases customer satisfaction by nine percent and grows spending by at least 13 percent. Why does concrete language work so well? Researchers say it shows a customer that they are being attentively listened to, making them feel more understood and valued. More on this here.

5. Noise is making your customers (and you) choose wrong 🥁

What’s the chance of choosing the best person for the job in the interview process? According to recent findings, somewhere between 56-61 percent. That’s only slightly higher than flipping a coin. Similarly, there are plenty of other high-stake decisions with a worryingly high error rate. Surprisingly, court cases, medical diagnoses, and criminal investigations are all similarly littered with wrong choices.

According to the latest book from Nobel-prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, it’s not just biases that lead us to make bad decisions but random variation known as noise. This variation makes us behave differently for similar decisions. This is the reason why radiologists give the same x-ray a different diagnosis 20 percent of the time, or wine tasters give the same wine a different rating. What’s the ticket to making better decisions? Kahneman suggests asking someone to make the same decision multiple times: “if you ask a person to make multiple judgments, they will give different answers, and if you average their answers, the answer is more accurate.” More on this here.

Want more marketing psychology tips like these? Get 5 bite-sized tips straight to your inbox monthly by signing up to the Noggin Notes newsletter in the form below 👇