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7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising

7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising

July 26, 2022

Psychology is a discipline that is applied in many areas: sports, schools or companies.

Within this last context we find Psychology applied to Marketing , which is key to understanding how the human mind works and is essential to persuade consumers to acquire our products or services.

Keys to Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising

Any good marketing strategy can not forget how consumers think, what needs they have and what their motivations are. Therefore, Psychology is a basic pillar in the world of Marketing and Advertising.

In the following lines you can find 7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising .


1. Emotional marketing

Emotional intelligence is one of the great paradigms of current Psychology , because the emotions affect our well-being and our behavior in a decisive way. Most people think that the decisions we make are based on a rational analysis of the alternatives presented to us, an idea that the psychologist Antonio Damasio, in his book, "The error of Descartes", says he does not share.

For Damasio, "emotions are crucial in almost all the decisions we make, because these, which are associated with previous experiences, set values ​​for the options we are considering." In other words, emotions create preferences that lead us to opt for one option or another.


Emotional marketing is applied in branding , in strategies for customer loyalty, in commercial accounts, etc.

  • If you want to go deeper into this topic, you can do it in our article "Emotional Marketing: reaching the heart of the client"

2. Classical and instrumental conditioning

Classical and instrumental conditioning are two key concepts to understand behavioral psychology, and are present in our learning, our behavior and, of course, in the world of Marketing.

The classical conditioning, popularized by John Watson thanks to the help of Ivan Pavlov, can be observed in the advertising world when nice situations or attributes are highlighted that are not necessarily linked to the characteristics of a product or service. It is not strange to run into similar products of different brands that provoke different emotional experiences for users through branding.


Now, when the real characteristics of the product and service are explained, the model of instrumental or operant conditioning is used. That is, when a product really shows differences in quality with respect to its competitors, instrumental conditioning is effective. For example, letting you try the product or giving away a sample of it.

3. Motivation

Motivation is an intrinsic force that guides us and allows us to maintain behaviors aimed at achieving an objective or satisfying a need. Many psychologists have been interested in the study of motivation, since it is a basic principle in the behavior of human beings. Motivation also affects decision making.

For this reason, it is applied in the field of Marketing, understanding and influencing motivation will result in greater acquisition of products and services on the part of consumers. For example, if we detect through a survey that a user is motivated to buy a vehicle, there is a greater probability that he can buy one of our products if we are dedicated to the automotive sector. This technique is widely used today. An example of this is the use of "cookies", which allow us to track the habits and concerns of potential customers.

  • Related article: "Types of motivation: the 8 motivational sources"

4. Zeigarnik effect: creating expectations and suspense

The Zeigarnik effect is closely related to expectations, and it owes its name to Bluma Zeigarnik, a psychologist at the School of Gestalt, who realized that unfinished tasks tend to generate discomfort and intrusive thoughts in us. In the Marketing world, the Zeigarnik Effect is a technique used to attract customers, which is used in different situations. For example, in movie trailers.

It is common to see in some television series a short summary of the next chapter at the end of the program , to create suspense and provoke the need to know how they conclude the scenes they have shown us previously. This is called "cliffhangers" and is based on the Zeigarnik effect.

5. Persuasion

The Psychology of persuasion is one of the key elements of marketing . This branch of social psychology aims to study human behavior to understand what are the reasons that cause people to modify their behavior under external influence. Although it is often confused with manipulation, persuasion is an art that consists of convincing people to act in a certain way.

There are a number of elements that are indispensable for effective persuasive communication. For example, reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, sympathy and credibility.

  • You can learn more about this concept in our article: "Persuasion: definition and elements of the art of convincing"

6. Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a discipline that studies the mind, brain and consumer behavior and how to influence it to achieve more sales. Therefore, it brings scientific advances in Psychology and Neuroscience to the discipline of Marketing.

Understanding the functioning of attention, perception or memory and how these processes affect people, their tastes, personality and needs, allows for a more effective Marketing. There are many applications of Neuromarketing, as you can see in our articles:

  • Neuromarketing has a lot of future
  • Neuromarketing: your brain knows what you want to buy

7. Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a concept closely linked to Social Psychology . The psychologist Leon Festinger proposed this theory, which explains how people try to maintain their internal consistency. That is, we all have a strong inner need that pushes us to ensure that our beliefs, attitudes and behavior are coherent with each other. When this does not happen, discomfort and disharmony appear, something we strive to avoid.

Cognitive dissonance is very present in Marketing, which explains why we often choose products that we do not really need and make purchases that are not always consistent. In fact, every consumer who does not feel satisfied with the product that he has just obtained does not know how useful it will be for him, and he experiences cognitive dissonance. It may happen that, when choosing a purchase, we question the whys, and look for explanations that justify our action. Human beings are like that, and cognitive dissonance is present in many of the decisions we make and how we behave.

  • Related article: "Cognitive dissonance: the theory that explains self-deception"

Science Of Persuasion (July 2022).


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