How to Use Behavioral Science in Marketing

How to Use Behavioral Science in Marketing

It’s human nature to be interested in others. But it’s imperative to study human behavior if you’re in the business of marketing.

A recent article in the online issue of B&T Magazine details how behavioral science plays a key role in formulating marketing strategy. Senior strategy planner Claire Webber says a deep dive in behavioral science can help to understand just how people make decisions. She states that 95% of our decisions are made intuitively: They are made quickly, based on past experiences and the intuitive part of the brain.

Here’s an example. Don’t try to work it out; give it your first impression.

A bat and ball costs $1.10. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.

How much does the ball cost?

The first response that often comes to mind is 10¢.

But it’s not the correct answer – check the math

This shows that people are intuitive thinkers and typically go for the short cut in a problem. Marketers can use this inclination to devise marketing strategies that appeal to customers and encourage them to buy.

The author lists five behavioral science principles in marketing that are used:

  1. Loss Aversion is based on the fact that people feel loss more intensely than the same level of gain. An energy provider compared two ads: “Switch now and save $100” and “Don’t lose $100.” The latter was preferred by 45%.
  2. The Bystander Effect happens in mass appeals that are geared to large groups rather than those geared to individuals. The lesson here is to localize and individualize your message as much as possible for more effect.
  3. Social Proof is one of the most powerful motivators. Human nature impels us to look around at what others are doing. Based on evolution, it assures us that the choices are safe.
  4. The Peak-End Rule is the fact that people remember the most intense peaks—good or bad—of experiences, and how they end. Marketers can aim for more pleasurable experiences with their brands to overshadow any negative points like high costs, complaints or long waits.
  5. The Pratfall Effect ironically can turn a negative into a positive. The example cited is KFC: When the company ran out of chicken in 700 of its 900 outlets in the UK, it promptly apologized on social media, resulting in widespread forgiveness and brand awareness.

Exploring these highly instinctual behaviors can result in more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

Read more at the source – 2 minute read

The guru’s at ProRelevant study these behaviors as well as countless other factors that affect how consumers buy. Founder and president Guy R. Powell reveals actionable tips and research in his newest book, Marketing Machine: The Secret History of the Future of Marketing. Get your copy at