How to Use Psychology in Marketing

Take a moment to examine marketing in the light of psychology. “Skinnerian marketing” dictates that the customer modifies his or her behavior—this kind of marketing says, shows, or does something that causes a customer to change his or her behavior (so as to act in the way you want that customer to act). You gently nudge the customer to buy, to click to a site, to call, to visit, to compare, to clip a coupon, to follow your command by a certain date, usually right around the corner. “Freudian marketing” is addressed to the subconscious—the most powerful part of a person’s mind. “Skinnerian marketing” is addressed to the conscious—less powerful, but more easily activated.

Guerrilla marketing is addressed to the conscious and the subconscious. It changes attitudes while modifying behavior. It comes at the customer from all directions. It persuades, coerces, tempts, compels, romances, and orders the customer to do your bidding. It leaves little to chance. Although people associate creativity with a free and unbridled spirit, it is the essence of precise planning.

As technology evens the playing fields in all the marketing arenas, guerrilla marketers understand their role in the community and they are creative in filling it. I quote from a very successful ice cream company’s brochure: “At Ben and Jerry’s, we’re as concerned about our responsibility to the community, both local and global, as we are about making great ice cream.” Then they prove their devotion to humanity by sponsoring altruistic causes such as the Children’s Defense Fund, voter registration, peace on earth, saving rain forests, less military spending, and more recycling. Ben and Jerry sponsor concerts to spread the word—not about their ice cream as much as about their desire to save the planet. Ben and Jerry say, “Business has the responsibility to give back to the community.” This is their creative platform. It sells sanity. It sells honesty. It sells nobility. It sells ice cream.

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About the Author Jesse Byron

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