Strive as some might for a communist/anarchist commune we're all consumers of one thing or another. From groceries and soap flakes all the way up to high ticket appliances, cars and homes trading is as much a part of the human experience as anything else. And unless you’re a member of an as yet undiscovered tribe in the deepest amazon you’ve probably come across the main way people try to persuade other people to buy their products. Indeed, you’re looking at it now – Advertising!
That Not So Hidden Agenda
Bloated budgets aside, before there were marketing departments there was still trade. And those who were successful at it got that way by convincing other people to buy their products and services. Or in more primitive cases we admit, by persuading them to join their warband to go pillage the village in the next valley.
Even back then, consumer psychology was a thing. Admittedly they didn’t think of it in those terms and even people today would hear such a description and think of it as some sort of sophisticated sciency discipline to be safely ignored. In reality though, getting people to buy whatever you were selling has been the key to nearly every successful enterprise whether you were selling crops at the town market or trying to convince the King and Queen of Spain to fund a crazy trip to discover the new world.
Getting to understand why people do what they do is very much at the heart of the entire science of psychology and in the same vein consumer psychology takes this one step further to focus on the decisions an individual makes when purchasing anything.
Shaping minds and opening purses
Naturally the reason you might want to understand how people think in relation to their buying of things is because without any such understanding of these issues any marketing or expansion plans you may have for your business are being made blindly. What is the point of taking out that expensive nationwide advertising campaign when you have no understanding of the thought processes that drive potential buyers into a sale?
Consumer Psychology is all about analysing these factors by, for example, understanding the basic needs that drive human behaviour and relating them into needs that can be addressed by services and products. These include things such as:
- Human Biology
- Social Aspirations
- Stimulation of the Senses
For example, the latest smart phone fulfils its basic function of allowing it’s user to contact other people addressing a social need. However much cheaper phones perform the same function. It can further differentiate itself from its peers through other functions like providing high resolution playback of films and television (Stimulation of the senses). It might also include an onboard panic alarm to scare off potential attackers (security) and by virtue of being new and expensive carry a certain status for those rich enough to afford it.
Understanding these basic concepts of how people think is the path to a strong marketing push. Once you understand why people think the way they do, you are in a position to sell your products in such a way that people will be more receptive to buying them and even to influence the way people thinking and get them to buy into vision.