A Radio Marketer’s Guide to Psychology


What can marketers learn from the field of Psychology?

Quite a bit, argues Ginny Soskey, a writer for marketing blog Hubspot. After all, when you seek to inspire people to take action — especially to buy goods or services — knowing what makes them tick is invaluable. In “Psychology for Marketers: 9 Revealing Principles of Human Behavior,” Soskey describes tried and true lessons from Psychology that every marketer should know.

Whether you’re looking to communicate your brand’s message on TV, radio, online or out-of-home, these concepts are worth remembering.

So what are they? Take a look:

  • Reciprocity — If you help someone, they’ll want to help you. So reward your consumers with freebies and rewards, and they’ll reward you with their continued loyalty.
  • Authority The image of authority will make your customers more likely to trust and buy your product. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Let your audience know exactly what credentials you’re holding. And if you don’t, hire a spokesman who does.
  • Social Proof —You may have read about the way group thinking effects individual actions. In the case of “social proof,” customers are more likely to have a favorable opinion of something if those around them like it. Let your consumer know what others are saying about your product, and make it easier to share your content on social platforms.
  • Scarcity —People want what they can’t have. Stress your products limited availability and you’ll be sure to increase sales.
  • Recency Illusion —Ever learn a new word, only to suddenly find it at every turn? That’s the recency illusion, and it applies to marketing the same way it does to your vocabulary. Develop consistent marketing campaigns rather than fragmented “one and done” ads. People will notice the campaign more after they’ve first been introduced to it.
  • Verbatim Effect —We naturally condense information in our memory. A compelling speech is often reduced to a “fuzzy blur” wherein we remember a few key concepts.  If you’re writing, pack as much information into the headline as you can. If you’re on radio, aim for short, compelling soundbites.

The lessons in this article also evoke a famous psychology study about body language. The study argued that social mimicry greatly increased the degree to which people were willing to help each other.

One of the more interesting examples involved a “confederate” (an actor planted in the experiment) who mimicked the body language of unknowing participants. After a conversation, the actor would “accidentally” drop pens on the floor. In the groups where the actor had mimicked the participants body language, the participant was far more likely to help the confederate pick up the pens. The implications are wide reaching, and the message is clear: people like to see themselves in other people.

Lean in when they lean in, slouch when they do, these simple steps can have to subconscious effect on how “likable” you are to strangers. And for marketers, salesmen or even a job candidate, being liked is the difference between making the sale or not, getting the job or not.

Of course, you can’t mimic people’s behavior on in every medium. But you take advantage of the overarching lesson the study has taught us: people like to see themselves in other things. After all, good novels aren’t written with a protagonist that we can’t see and identify with. And marketing is a lot like story telling. Tell stories your consumer can identify with, and the marketing battle will already be half won.