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Marketing is everywhere people look whether they notice or not. Marketers have to anticipate how consumers will react to what they see and to do this they apply psychology to advertisements. The more responsive consumers are to advertisements, the more vulnerable they are to marketing tactics that convince them to make purchases. Here are just a few types of psychological marketing tricks that work.


Behavior is influenced by the power of suggestion. Exposure to something specific can influence a person’s reaction to something else. This is known as priming, a tactic that uses people’s associations to alter their reactions. Marketers control the context of an ad to influence how people perceive, recognize, and interact with content.

The Theory of Reciprocity

The Theory of Reciprocity impacts how people respond to marketing. Socially speaking, people are more inclined to give something when they have received something. Providing quality content is important to showing consumers value. If consumers enjoy engaging with content, they are more likely to help a brand by making a purchase, writing a testimonial, or re-posting on their own social media. The Theory of Reciprocity is a smart way to generate brand advocates.

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The Decoy Effect

Ever notice that brands include additional pricing options to give consumers the allusion of getting a deal? This tactic called the Decoy Effect includes extra pricing options to make the most expensive option look like a comparative deal. Bargain hunters quickly become value-seekers with the Decoy Effect, which means brands can increase sales of high-profit items. The Decoy Effect is all about perspective.

Illusion of Scarcity

Fear of missing out is a social driving force based on the illusion of scarcity. Things that are scarce are deemed exclusive which drives the appeal to buyers. The more valuable things seem the faster consumers act to make a purchase. Even if a consumer has a timeline for making a purchase, they will see scarcity as urgency and act to make a purchase before something is no longer available.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Consumers have all experienced the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon at some point. In short, this refers to the fact that as soon as a consumer learns about a product, they start to see it everywhere. The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon combines selective attention, or learning about something and unconsciously seeking it, and confirmation bias, or convincing oneself that sightings are a sign to purchase. The brain focuses on recognizing familiar ideas, and marketers use re-targeted ads and customized lead emails to influence consumers.

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Loss Aversion

Consumers don’t like the idea of missing out or losing something to the point that they make purchases to prevent a loss instead of gaining. Loss aversion frames something as a potential loss and highlights to consumers what they will miss out on if they don’t act. Ever notice that companies offer consumers free trials? Once people have something, they don’t want to lose it, therefore they will continue subscribing after the free trial ends.

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