How Behavioral Science Principles Can Turbocharge Your Marketing Success

For years, behavioral sciences have been applied to marketing, both consciously and unconsciously. Even when marketers aren’t explicitly tapping into their knowledge of psychology, sociology, etc., they are often thinking in terms of how to satisfy the needs of a potential customer to: belong, to look attractive to the opposite sex, to demonstrate status, to feel as though they are providing for their family, etc. These are all fundamental drivers of human behavior. When we shape our marketing efforts to satisfy those needs, we are guided by the behavioral sciences, whether we know it or not.

As described by Medical Marketing and Media, “behavioral science applied to marketing communications engages and targets consumers based on their beliefs, needs, motivations and barriers toward a particular behavior.” Behavioral science is at the basis of any form of marketing, as the goal is to somehow influence the behavior of others, to convince them to think, believe or do something. In the case of marketing, that “something” is generally to purchase a product or service.

Fundamental to these marketing efforts is to understand and cater to three elements of a potential customer’s behavior: their attitudes, interests and opinions – or, their AIO. The goal of a marketer is to convince a target audience, based on their AIO, that what the marketer has to offer is better than other options (the competition) and that they should take some action.

From a behavioral science standpoint what this means is that you’re attempting to determine the benefits that will drive some positive motivation on the part of your target audience—WIIFT?—”What’s in it for them?” Basically, again tying back to behavioral science, what’s the positive reinforcement?

In the beauty industry, for example, marketers often play to the desire of people to look attractive. Car advertisements that tout safety features play to the desire of people to feel safe in a dangerous world and to feel as though they are protecting their family by driving them in a safe vehicle. Environmentally friendly products play to the desire of consumers to feel like they’re making a difference for the environment.

If you can’t understand the AIOs that guide your target audience, you won’t be able to show that audience what’s in it for them, and they aren’t likely to buy your product or service. The behavioral sciences have a wealth of empirical information on how to understand and take advantage of those AIOs; savvy marketers hoping to boost their marketing successes should take note.


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