Source:  Joseph Mucira from Pixabay 

The First Rule:

The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club. This dialogue by Brad Pitt has been etched in the heart of viewers for years now. So, let me ask the question, what is the first rule of marketing? It simply says, know your customers. A successful marketer stands out in the crowd only if he possesses the innate ability or develops it to understand how people think and act the way they do. Every time someone engages with your brand, they embark on a journey. Understanding the psychological elements that influence consumer behaviour assures the effectiveness of your marketing. Incorporation of one or more psychological principles into marketing campaigns, marketing strategy, content marketing, or sales strategy provides marketers with the ability to influence purchasing decisions.

Consumers are influenced by marketing psychology both positively and negatively. It can motivate them to find a solution to an issue. Unfortunately, they may react negatively to deceptive tactics and establish unpleasant associations in the present, leading them to regret their purchase afterward. Thus, it is essential to understand the true essence of psychology in marketing to be able to make the best out of it.


You would be surprised to learn that numerous principles of psychology find themselves an application in marketing. Let us jump to discover some of the commonly used principles of psychology in marketing:

Urgency Scarcity:

The simple idea of scarcity of a product or that someone else can purchase that product before you, creates a sense of urgency for purchase among the customers. This psychology principle finds its origin in the simple formula of supply and demand. People attribute more value to an opportunity, content, or product that is rare. If we look around carefully, we could point out numerous applications of this principle spanning across industries. "Only two seats left for this price, hurry up!", "buy your favourite top now (before someone else does it)", "booked five times already today", "9 other people are looking at the same product now". I must admit that there have been multiple instances where "only 2 left in stock" has triggered me to swipe the purchase button while using the Myntra platform.

Social Proof:

It is the "me too" effect that encourages people to adopt the actions and beliefs of people they trust and admire. This idea is further fragmented to expert recommendations, celebrity endorsements, "wisdom of the crowds", certifications that prove credibility and quality, user testimonials, and wisdom of your friends. The Millennials that grew up watching the Colgate ad which claimed to be a recommendation of all the doctors would be able to relate to this principle, at a deeper level. In a decade where social media holds invisible control over everyone's life, this is a strategy that marketers cannot miss. The inclusion of user testimonials and reviews from influencers on the social media handles and blogs would be the cherry on the cake that would attract more customers for the brands.

Information Gap Theory:

The information gap theory confirms that the knowledge gap would be the main driving force behind an individual's actions to find out more information on a topic they have limited data on. The information gap theory is commonly applied by marketers in social media marketing.

Content posted under headings such as "tips to keep in mind for your first trek", "best budget stays in Goa", "must-visit places for solo travelers" are not new to us. This is how travel companies such as India Hikes and Trek Panda try to solve the information gap of the customers. A simple yet most effective way to share information and gain traction during the whole process.

Loss Aversion:

This principle revolves around the concept that people do not like to lose what they have already gained. It points at the tendency of people to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. It is interesting to understand the various ways in which you could attract customers by applying this principle. The essence of which is how you frame the messages. Some of the points to keep in mind while marketers frame the message are; to make it risky, be definitive by setting up a time frame, frame the offer in terms of loss, inspire the fear of losing. Loss aversion also plays a significant role in the case of freemium products and their adoption. Customers are provided with a free version of a product or particular feature for a specific duration in a freemium model. The features provided free would be revoked at the end of the specified duration leaving the customers behind with the thought to upgrade the product.


We have heard people quoting statements such as "I'm nice to you if you are nice to me", "the way I treat you entirely depends on the way you treat me." We have heard these statements in the context of relationships among humans. It is time we realise that these statements play a similar role in the relationship between a brand and a customer.

The reciprocity principle conveys the idea that people feel an obligation to do something for you and return the favour when you’ve done something for them. The obligation is invincible when something is given without expectation of return. The various ways in which brands can instill reciprocity are by giving out free samples, trial periods, or free advice. Brands like Body shop apply reciprocity by giving out free samples. The essence of this transaction relies on the give-and-take principle intrinsic to human exchange.

The Finale:

The above-stated principles are just a part of the whole meal of "Psychology in Marketing". However, it lays the foundation of the inherent relationship between marketing and psychology. Marketing and psychology are two pieces of the same bar of chocolate.

With the growing level of competition, businesses need to understand and anticipate customer behaviour. A clear understanding of where your company stands is needed before you chart out efforts to leverage psychology to influence customer behaviour. This understanding would help in finding the right balance to implement any strategy. So, before you set out the sails to leverage the application of psychology in marketing, first understand your company. That is when you create magic!

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