This week we focus on the role that Consumer Psychology has played in influencing Digital Marketing.
This blog is the second part of the two-part series focusing on: How Data Science and Consumer Psychology have structured and paved a new way for Digital Marketing.
Part Two: Consumer Psychology and Digital Marketing
One of the first rules in making your business successful is to know your target audience or, to be more specific, who your customers are. Therefore, companies must look closer at their customers: who they are, what they want, what motivates them, what drives their decisions, businesses should have a clear idea of what makes their customers tick.
When we speak of psychological models in understanding the customer, it involves understanding their motivations and their need for recognition. These frameworks and models are more qualitative since they are mostly derived from sociological and environmental factors, such as culture, social influences, etc.
Understanding Consumer psychology
Consumer psychology is the study of why people buy things. Psychologists try to find the underlying cognitive processes that explain consumers’ choices and how they respond to marketing and the external stimuli that convince people to purchase specific items. Marketing executives are very keen to know the findings from studies in consumer psychology since these findings can help them figure out how to sell a product.
Consumer psychology concepts aim to evaluate and understand consumers and the decision-making process. Psychological factors influencing consumer behaviour such as demographics, personality, lifestyles, and behavioural variables like usage rates, usage occasion, loyalty, brand advocacy, and willingness to provide referrals are all studied in market research.
Basics Of Consumer Psychology and Behaviour
All too often, we see consumer psychology, behaviour and marketing mentioned together, like peas in a pod. And why not? These concepts are as old as time and are closely related that they seem to be interdependent. We cannot talk about marketing without touching on customer psychology, behaviour and vice versa.
From a business point of view, it entails looking into and understanding the behaviour of consumers. How do they select, acquire, use, and dispose of products and services that satisfy their needs?
Customer psychology also considers external factors, delving deep on the matter as to how his environment influences the customer. What role does mass media play in their buying decisions? How big of an impact does culture have on how they choose their products or services?
Why Is Consumer Psychology Important to Business?
# According to a Salesforce report, 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. This means that if you don’t know what a consumer wants before they can tell you, they’re probably taking their business elsewhere.
# Successful organizations build their marketing strategies with consumer behaviour insights as to the foundation. They’re not generating products and marketing plans based on their ideas alone; they bring external information into the fold to find out what customers want and how they want it, then interacting with them accordingly. This is the essence of creating a positive customer experience (CX), and CX means everything to foster a loyal customer base. Consider this stat from Qualtrics:
“Organizations that lead in customer experience outperformed laggards on the S&P 500 index by nearly 80%.”
They have customers who are seven times more likely to purchase more from the company, eight times more likely to try other products or services, and fifteen times more likely to spread positive word of mouth.
# Marketers and business people are especially interested to know how customers purchase, use, and dispose of products. This is to get a better idea of how to best position these products and services. The majority of marketing decisions are influenced by consumers’ behaviour, particularly when they are buying something. Marketing campaigns, programs and strategies are primarily hinged on what the marketers learn about the consumers.
# Product developers can also take their cues from the information gathered through understanding customer psychology. For example, they will know how they can further develop products that will encourage or entice consumption. The customers’ decision strategies differ depending on product offerings.
# Consumer behaviour also has a more significant impact on society as a whole. Their decisions, choices, and reasoning behind these decisions could have relevance on broader issues, such as the economy, environment, and national health.
How Consumer Psychology influences Digital Marketing?
Marketers are continually seeking to create engagement with their buyers & drive actions that help buyers rush through their customer lifecycle. How do marketers get to know reliable insights from a customer? By capturing analytics of their buying behaviour and delivering engaging content that plays along with the customer’s mindset.
This indicates that there is a strong connection between marketing and psychology. The benefits are tremendous when we incorporate consumer psychology into marketing initiatives. One advantage is that it helps customers in their sales cycle journey to achieve their objective of buying a product or service. When this is accomplished, a marketer can achieve better conversions.
However, the definition of conversion changes from brand to brand. It also depends on the objective of each promotional activity. Conversion doesn’t mean a purchase every time. It can be a simple task such as reading an article, downloading a whitepaper, or just visiting your website.
An essential element of consumer psychology is to inspire your customer to buy a product or subscribe to service and make the experience and process very simple and easy to use. For example, people don’t read email newsletters word for word. Hence, to encourage customers to make a buying decision, highlight that content you think the customer should know. These are known as visual cues.
# Emotion-Driven Behaviour: Once you have persuaded potential buyers emotionally (albeit unconsciously), they will rationalize that choice on their own.
# Social proof: People are more likely to find actions when others do them (Crowdsourcing Products).
# Scarcity & loss aversion: Buyers tend to take action when told that a product or special offer won’t last long.
# Reciprocity: The human nature dislikes being indebted to others, which is based on the Reciprocity Principle.
# Commitment & Consistency: Human beings have a deep need to be seen as reliable and true to our word.
# Anchoring: Describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information you receive (the “anchor”) when making decisions.
Consumer Behaviour changing the landscape of Digitial Marketing
Year after year, marketing companies and advertisers invest all of their resources into shaping the public’s tastes and consumer behaviours. But, more often than not, it is the consumer behaviour that forces the marketers to change their strategies and tactics.
The digital marketing industry has been forced to transform to meet the changing online habits of consumers.
Today, we can also talk about digital consumers, representing the new generation and seeing the world differently. For these consumers, virtual and physical have equal relevance, and they carry their friends and families everywhere they go via social media. More than that, when they attempt to buy an item, they are more likely to consult their network than traditional advertising. These people share everything online and have a different perspective on privacy.
Likewise, consumer marketers have adapted to the customers’ new buying behaviour, so they became aware of the following marketing strategies specific to the digital era.
This has broadened the field of Digital Marketing and opened new avenues for markets.
The Rise of Social Media
Having an online presence is an old hat. If your business wasn’t online ten years ago, you are already behind the eight balls. A company website, even a well-maintained one, isn’t going to cut it with today’s consumer. Your company needs to be on social media.
According to the Hootsuite blog, “The new Digital 2020 July Global Statshot report from Hootsuite and We Are Social reveals that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s total population now uses social media.
DataReportal analysis shows that 3.96 billion people use social media today, accounting for roughly 51% of the global population.”
Here’s a set of interesting facts related to Social Media
Digital marketers have followed the trend by turning their attention and activities to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tiktok and other social media platforms. Companies are using social media pages to interact directly with customers, offer free giveaways, promote upcoming products, hold contests, make announcements, and all forms of advertising. A considerable portion of digital marketing is now devoted to social media.
On the Go
What people search for is essential, but HOW and WHERE they search for content are also relevant. Mobile online searches have now surpassed desktop searches; a recent report pegs 70% of internet traffic comes from mobile phones. (CIODive)
Marketers have had to address to make sure the website and social media accounts are mobile-friendly. No one will use your site if they can’t get on it through their phone or tablet. Searching on their mobile devices means that people will go through content quicker and be more selective about what they view, which means that marketers have had to pay more attention to planning content keeping devices in mind.
Better Online Content
With countless websites to choose from, consumers can afford to be selective about where they lend their eyes. To keep the attention and repeated visits of consumers, marketers have to spend more time creating relevant online content that addresses what the viewer is looking for. People want their queries answered, and if you don’t do it, they will find someone who will. Online video content is becoming the preferred advertising method of marketers as it attracts more and more viewers.
One of the most significant challenges for companies and internet marketing agencies has been the proliferation of online reviews. Marketers want to control the products’ narrative, so their message is disseminated to the consumers.
The online review culture not only allows consumers to seek out other messages but also allows them to create their message.
Digital marketers have no control over these DIY messages. When they are positive, online reviews can be beneficial. But, a few negative reviews can have adverse effects on sales. They can’t be controlled, so digital marketers have had to find ways around online reviews and turn them to their advantage.
Way To Go!
There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to fundamentally change consumer behaviour as the way we live, work, and buy has been dramatically rewritten. From panic buying to brand boycotts and the online shopping boom, the crisis has permanently shifted the way consumers view and interact with brands.
This inevitably poses a challenge for businesses and marketers but is also an excellent opportunity for them to rethink and redesign their marketing strategies to be more resilient, adaptable, and future-proofed for a post-COVID-19 world.
Marketing strategies have already undergone substantial transformation in recent years, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. So, where should marketers focus their efforts in a post-COVID world?
# Lead with data in content creation
Among the most significant outcomes of the pandemic for marketers is that very little can be guaranteed for very long, with constant change and uncertainty the new norm. Against this backdrop, it is clear that data must be at the core of every strategy so businesses can derive real-time customer insights and make more informed decisions about their marketing technology stacks, product offerings, and sales and marketing efforts.
Data doesn’t just have a place in business modelling and planning; it should be woven into every tactic and every piece of brand content.
This new era of consumer behaviour demands a new attitude to building content strategies. The first step is to set aside previously held views and approach customers as though you are learning about them for the first time.
This means using data to understand the latest customer preferences — which channels they engage with brands on, which topics they are interested in, and which messages they respond to repeat the process repeatedly, measuring what is working and what requires further tweaks.
# Think like a data scientist
With the seismic shift in customer behaviour due to COVID-19, timely data value has never been more evident. Specific business departments like product development have long relied on data for success, and creatives would do well to borrow a data scientist’s mindset to rebuild their visual marketing strategies.
Thinking like a data scientist in a marketing context means recognizing the goldmine of information at your fingertips from every customer interaction and actively using it to inform every decision, from strategy to day-to-day content choices.
In a world where everything changes by the minute, brands need to be on their toes always. Data-driven marketing may have been the buzzword for years in the past, but it is nothing short of a must for businesses of all sizes going forward. The way consumers engage with brands has changed forever, and this is the time when brands must take a step back, reinvent their stack, think systematically, and design a marketing strategy that is adaptable and resilient for the future.
Both individually and collectively, Data Science and Consumer Psychology have helped Digital Marketing evolve and adapt. As we enter a new post-pandemic era, their roles and contributions will be higher and valuable.