The art of persuasion in marketing is all about influencing consumer behavior. The term “persuasion” is often used in marketing because it deals with having an impact on others’ (your potential customers’) decisions. But, persuasion in marketing is more than just influencing the actions of your consumers. It also deals with influencing how consumers think, feel, and talk about your brand. How do consumers generally feel about your brand? Do they think positive things about it? We will discuss how marketing influences consumer behavior and how that can impact your business entirely.
The science behind how marketing influences consumer behavior
Most, if not all, consumers make purchase decisions based on how they feel. So, good feelings influence consumers to buy something. Well, with the exception of mortgage, utilities, insurance, and other bills that typically do not make us feel good at all. Purchase decisions are generally made after consumers feel persuaded in some way. Persuasion is no longer just an art; it’s backed by science as well.
The 7 Principles of Persuasion
Robert Cialdini, the godfather of influence, spent his entire career on conducting scientific research on persuasion in sales and marketing. He is globally-known as the expert in influence. His seven principles of persuasion are now the cornerstone of every business wanting to influence their consumers in some way. They serve as the foundational concept in how marketing influences consumer behavior. Here are the principles of persuasion you should be implementing into your marketing strategy.
Reciprocity is the process of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. This is typically the human tendency to want to offer something when something is received. Reciprocity is used in every single industry. Sometimes businesses offer free consultations, coupons and discounts, or even small gifts. You know the fortune cookies you get after eating at a Chinese restaurant? Or the chocolate mints at Olive Garden? While they are a gesture of saying ‘thank you,’ they are actually marketing tactics to encourage you to come back. While this tactic seems minimal, it actually works.
Have you ever heard the saying, “people always want what they can’t have”? Consumers want more of what they can have less of. This basically means that the more scarce a product or service is, the more consumers will try to buy that product or service. Scarcity marketing utilizes a consumer’s fear of missing out on something. For example, Amazon uses this tactic to tell you when you’re close to missing out on a product. “Only 1 left in stock” may put fear in consumers’ minds that if they don’t order soon, they will miss out. And, there’s no telling when the product will come back in stock.
Consumers are more likely to trust knowledgeable experts. This is the strategic process of positioning a company as the leading expert in their field. Authority marketing gives a company competitive advantage because it shows consumers that it is trustworthy and knowledgeable. A company’s authority can be manufactured. If a startup company wants to surpass existing competitors, it requires hard work but can be done. Authority is sometimes seen by years of experience, awards and accreditation, achievements, professional designations, and authorship.
Consumers prefer brands who are consistent with their brand identity, values, and strategy over time. People also like to be consistent with things they have said and done before. The consistency principle is what makes the foot-in-the-door technique work. What does this mean exactly? Consistency marketing deals with looking and asking for small initial commitments. Then, consumers will feel compelled to stick with this commitment, whether it be a statement, affiliation, or identity.
People tend to have positive relationships with those they like. So, consumers tend to buy products and services from brands they like. Persuasion science explains that there are three key factors to the principle of liking. First, we tend to like those who are similar to us. Second, we like those who pay us compliments. And third, we like those who cooperate with us toward mutual goals. It’s important to get to know your audience and find a similarity between your audience and your brand. Once your consumers feel a connection with your brand based on commonalities, they will be more likely to bring you the traffic you want.
Consumers are more likely to have trust in things that are popular or if endorsed by others that they trust. This is why one of the most powerful persuasion techniques comes in the form of social influence. 49% of consumers depend on social media influencers before making a decision. And, 40% of consumers had purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. While having a high social media following is great, it’s more important to have high quality followers that talk about your brand. User-generated content drives more likes, follows, comments, shares, and even sales conversions. 81% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by posts they see from their friends, family, and influencers they follow.
Unity in persuasion can be described as a shared identity between a brand and its consumers. It is a way of making consumers feel like they belong. There are many ways to implement unity into your marketing approach. For example, you can use family-related language and values, refer to your brand and consumers as a community, and even offer exclusivity. Building a community around your brand helps build long-lasting relationships with your consumers. It also gives them a sense of belonging, creating more loyalty. On average, businesses who incorporate community marketing into their strategy see a 4,530% increase in ROI.
Form your marketing strategy around what is proven to work.
At QCM Agency, we’re sort of like scientists. We conduct research, run trial and errors, and find out what works. While we follow the basic principles that have been determined by globally-known scientists like Robert Cialdini, we mold each method specifically to your brand. There is a lot that goes into how marketing influences consumer behavior. The seven principles of persuasion are pretty much guidelines to follow in your strategy. But, it requires a lot of research, knowledge, and intricate detail to get it right.