Here are four consumer psychology principles to leverage in your next marketing campaign.

Brand Categories

When people can’t relate to the language you’re using to position your brand, they can’t file it into a category in their minds. In turn, they don’t think of you when the need for your product arises, and a competitor quickly takes its place.

Instead of trying to do what hasn’t been done before, stick to what your consumers know. Set your sights on moving into a brand category that already exists but doesn’t have a clear leader. Looking into your industry and competitors can help you identify an opportunity in a category.

How to Use Collective Effervescence in Marketing

Understanding collective effervescence can help brands unlock the mystery behind consumer fads. When people want your product in order to fit in, your job gets a whole lot easier.

One of the best ways to create a need for shared experience is through the use of social influencers. More relatable than an A-list celebrity, the social media influencer serves as a role model. These are inspirational people your customers aspire to be like. When these individuals are partaking in your product, other people will want in.

If you had to give up your favorite jeans in exchange for a brand new shirt, would you do it? If your answer is yes, you’re the exception to the rule. When faced the choice of losing something in exchange for gaining something else, most people are reluctant to budge.

This cognitive bias is known as loss aversion – another psychological principle that has been driving human behavior for centuries. People are scared by the idea of losing something that they have, even when there’s an opportunity to gain something new.

Loss aversion also works with opportunities that are within reach, but not yet obtained. It’s similar to the fear of missing out that we get in social situations.

How to Use Loss Aversion in Marketing

Loss aversion helps create a sense of urgency in consumers that would otherwise feel indifferent. It tells them that if they don’t act fast, a product that they’re eyeing could be gone for good.

This is a common theme running throughout promotions and sales in retail. At a basic level, messaging like “1 left in stock” or “last chance!” is aiming to leverage loss aversion to inspire buying motivation. Such messaging is easy to apply to a landing page, but the technique is quite obvious to consumers.

It’s important to gain an understanding of what your target audience fears losing. Knowing the underlying causes behind this fear will help you create marketing campaigns that address, and promise to solve, this sense of loss.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Fear was traditionally used in marketing in the form of scare tactics, which relied on falsehoods and outright lies to psychologically manipulate consumers into buying one product over the other.

Today, manipulation and deceit don’t pave the path towards consumer hearts. In fact, such tactics are largely frowned upon. However, it is still possible to generate emotions of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in consumers in an authentic way that generates more effective marketing.

How to Use FUD in Marketing

FUD is clearly a powerful tactic, but how can it be used for more effective marketing? One example we’ve all experienced relates to opt-in boxes on websites. Emails are valuable currency in the digital age, and marketers will go to great lengths to capture them.

Here’s how it works: instead of enabling someone to simply click away from an email opt-in box, they have to click a link that generates doubt and uncertainty.

They’re afraid of what might happen, or what message they might say about themselves, if they don’t fill out the box. Subscribing to one more email list won’t hurt – and plus, they do want to be healthier. One they’ve received an email confirmation in their inbox, it’s an instant sense of satisfaction. Feelings of uncertainty and doubt have dissipated, and they’re replaced with the reward.


Psychology principles have influenced consumer behavior for decades. But when implemented improperly, these tactics can feel half-hearted and untrustworthy – leading to a negative brand perception. Fortunately, these four marketing strategies use psychology in an authentic way that inspires action while driving both loyalty and revenue.