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Four Consumer Behavior Secrets That Will Take Your Marketing To The Next Level

5 min

Have you ever noticed that some marketing campaigns have an elegance and sophistication to them that make them much more effective and powerful than other campaigns? You can probably think of a few examples of these great campaigns – their messaging, design and branding are so well crafted that they generate significantly more sales and revenues for the brands they support.

Think of the Apple computer campaigns. Every new campaign launched by Apple has a style and approach that separates them from competing campaigns from Dell, Microsoft, HP and others.

Coca-Cola also runs campaigns that have this kind of impact. To see what I’m talking about, click on the Happiness Machine YouTube video below that Coca-Cola ran a few years ago.

Do you wish your marketing campaigns were as effective as the ones created by Apple, Coca-Cola and others? Most people think the secret to these campaigns has to do with having big budgets or hiring expensive ad agencies – things that are out of reach for the average business.

But that’s not entirely true. In fact, you can employ the same techniques the big companies do. You just have to learn the consumer secrets that they already know.

The good news is that the big corporations don’t have special rights to these secrets. In fact, you can use them when you design your next marketing automation, social media, or digital marketing campaign. What are they? Let’s take a look:

Secret 1: Consumers don’t care about you. They only care about themselves

It surprises me (and probably surprises you, too) how often brands focus on their product/service rather than on their consumers’ pain points.

The starting point for any effective marketing campaign (via marketing automation or otherwise) is to get inside the mind of the consumer. By understanding the psychology of your prospect’s needs, you can provide solutions to their pain points.

When Apple was busy re-defining our concept of marketing, they didn’t promote the speed of their computer chips or the quality of their hardware. Instead, they focused on what consumers wanted most – a computer that was easy to use.

By getting inside the mind of their prospect and leveraging those insights, Apple was able to identify the key driver for their future success and, as part of the process, become the most valuable company in the world.

Secret 2: People want what they can’t have

This is known as the Scarcity Effect, and it’s used very effectively in the wine industry. Do you know what makes a bottle of 2009 Sequoia Grove Cambium worth $140 a bottle?

Is it because it tastes 10 times better than a $14 bottle of Root One? Nope. In fact, it might only taste 20% or 30% better than a bottle of Root One, even though it costs 10 times more.

The truth is that the cost has less to do with the quality and more to do with the scarcity of the wine – Sequoia Grove is a limited edition wine that’s very hard to come by.

The owners of the wine know this, so they use the Scarcity Effect to jack up the price. How can you use the same technique for your business? Great question. Let’s say you’re selling a product for $20 and you’ve sold it at that price for 2 years.

You can’t simply go out and say, “Our product is now hard to come by, so we’re increasing the price!” But you can say, “For the next 24 hours, our product is available for $15. Get them while they last!”

By temporarily adjusting your pricing, you’re effectively manufacturing scarcity, which can have almost as much impact as having true scarcity.


Secret 3: People don’t want more choices, they want fewer choices

This secret is called the Paradox of Choice. Normally, we would assume that people respond better to more variety, not less variety. In other words, if we provide them mint toothpaste, they’ll probably like having the varieties of cherry toothpaste and lime toothpaste, too.

That sounds plausible, but studies have shown that after a certain number of finite choices, the consumer’s brain gets overloaded. In other words, the more choices there’re, the less likely they’re to make a decision.

Let’s say that you’re using GetResponse to promote a webinar to your e-newsletter subscribers. You might think that offering 7 different opportunities to watch the webinar would be much more effective than offering just 2. But studies have shown that in some industries, more than 3 options for a product or service actually inhibits sales rather than increases sales.

Remember back when you could buy Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coke, Cherry Coke, Sugar Free Caffeine Free Coke and a whole slew of other options? They don’t do that anymore – Coca-Cola has gotten rid of many of those options, partly due to the effect of the Paradox of Choice.

Secret 4:  People buy for emotional reasons then rationalize their purchase with logic

Why do people buy $10,000 Rolex watches? Is it because Rolex watches tell better time? Or is it because of the way Rolex watches make their owners feel?

The correct answer, of course, is that Rolex watches make their owners feel special. But if you ask a Rolex owner why they bought a $10,000 watch, they won’t talk about the emotional benefits. Instead, they talk about the logical features of the watch.

This happens with a lot of products – cars, fancy soap, even Starbucks coffee. The important thing is to remember that it can be used to help sell your product or service, too.

I know what you’re saying – “I work in the B2B world and the example you gave is for the B2C world.”

Not so fast – Delta Airlines, Apple Computers and even the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group all exist in a highly-competitive, overly-commoditized B2B environment, but each one of those brands has been able to leverage the way they make customers feel in order to charge higher prices than their competitors.

The bottom-line

In the end, no matter what you’re selling, whether it’s copiers, professional services, hotel rooms or whatever, consumers behave and respond to certain triggers. If you understand consumer behavior, you can leverage those insights and apply them to your next marketing automation, social media or digital marketing campaign. Good luck!