Marketing Psychology is an area of specialization in psychology that uses the principle of psychology in the process of marketing. Before even jumping into tips and tricks of using psychology to market one’s product it is important to understand the two terms that form “marketing psychology”. First of all, psychology is the science of behaviors and mental processes. Its goal is to describe, explain, predict, and modify behaviors and mental processes. There are many definitions of marketing given by many scholarly people. Based on those we can call marketing- as a process which involves analyzing, understanding, conception, planning, execution, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods, services, or ideas with the goal of satisfying the needs and wants of individuals, society, or organization or all three. The core of marketing lies in the needs of individuals, society, and organizations. Needs maybe already existing or created.
Principles of psychology are predominantly used to identify an existing need or to create a need. Once a need is identified or created, it can be catered to through an idea, product, or service. An example of an existing need would be the need for a vaccine for COVID 19. A Vaccine becomes the product to be created, priced, promoted, and distributed according to the needs of the clinics, hospitals, and other medical setups. Then multiple companies make vaccines for the same need giving its consumers choice. When there are multiple choices available, people have to make a decision. Psychology plays a role here to influence the choices of consumers to choose a certain brand over the other.
Fields like marketing psychology and behavioral economics studies how people make these choices. With the knowledge of how people make choices, they can be influenced to choose certain brands over the other. However, it is important that the principles of human behavior and decision making are used ethically. Ethical use of the principle of marketing psychology and behavioral economics entails helping the consumers make the choices that are benevolent to them and in their best interests. An example of a need being created is fairness skin creams influencing beauty standards. Planting an idea or rekindling an idea of beauty defined by the fairness of skin influences consumers to choose products that makes their skin fair. This is done by leveraging old irrational beliefs that fair skin equals beauty. It can also be influenced by advertisements, media, and endorsements by celebrities. By associating a product or service with a celebrity or other influential people, the product is perceived to be authentic or genuine.
The popular celebrity yoga guru claimed to have developed ‘Coronil’ claiming it to be a vaccine for COVID 19. Baba Ramdev had denied the claims that it was a vaccine and later said that it was merely an immune booster. Now, ‘Coronil’ is associated with Baba Ramdev who is associated with yoga, which is associated with good health and Indian tradition. This gives Patanjali, the brand owned by Baba Ramdev a trusted and secure feeling in the minds of people who admire him. Then, marketing of the product becomes easy at least with people who unquestioningly follow his advice. Similarly, there are many techniques employed by different people in private and governmental setup to influence people’s choices. The government can use techniques like banning a product, increasing tax on certain products, lowering the tax on certain products, advertisements, etc., to influence the choices of the people.
Private organizations influence choice through special offers such as buy one get one free offer etc, limited offers such as a limited edition product or offer with a time limit after which it will not be available, advertisements, rewards for purchasing or referral in cash or service such as how google pay app rewards its users in small amounts of cash or other offers, and many other techniques. The fields of marketing psychology, consumer psychology, and behavioral economics among many others help a person to understand human behavior and decision making processes. This knowledge empowers people to market their ideas, products, or services effectively and ethically. With knowledge comes power and a mark of strong character is defined by how it uses power. I hope the reader of this article is inspired to seek more knowledge in this area of study so that they can cater to the pressing and neglected needs of the society and individuals to make the world we live in, a better place.
This post was contributed by Aadithya R Nath, a student of counseling psychology from the department of psychology, Bangalore University. You can find his work on his Instagram handle here.