środa, 24 września 2014

Why are we being fooled by marketing tricks?


In today’s world we are all aware of the presence of marketing techniques that are used in stores to attract customers. Probably most of you will say that you are not influenced by them because you are resistant to them… but I must disappoint you: it’s not true! We are very receptive to advertising and marketing tricks, and we often don’t even realize the manipulation and how it affects our purchasing decisions.

Sales experts use the results of psychological and marketing research (which provide them with knowledge about the consumer behaviour) to influence their customers. Their goal is to sell them products or services, but first they have to compete with other companies in order to draw those customers to their stores. And although consumer awareness about marketing techniques that companies use to manipulate our attention is growing, we are still influenced by those psychological marketer’s tactics and we can’t help but make a purchase on impulse – we buy in larger quantities than we planned and things that we don’t really need. So we do exactly what companies expect from us when they implement all those marketing tricks in stores.

I remember precisely the situation that happened to me when I was studying Psychology and I was just starting my adventure in the world of marketing and advertisement. I was attending the course „Advertisement and consumer behaviour” and at the end of the semester I took an exam which was testing my knowledge of marketing tricks. After one hour long written exam and answering all the descriptive questions in detail I decided to reward myself for being very well prepared for that knowledge test. So I went to the shopping center just to purposely expose myself to the influence of all of those marketing tricks that were used there to attract customers – at least it was how I summarized my behaviour after all. Despite the marketing knowledge that I’ve gained on that course I felt an irresistible desire of owning the amazing thing that was “staring” at me from the display… so I made a compulsive purchase – I bought the beautiful dress that I didn't wear even once (I sold it about two years later)! Still to this day I try to understand my behaviour and what I was thinking that day. Was it because of so-called mood swings? First stress before the exam, then relief that everything went well and it was over, and finally delight in seeing the gorgeous dress in the exhibition? This is how I explain it to myself now… ;)

I think most of you have experienced it at least once when you went shopping because you wanted to buy something nice, but you didn’t know yet what it might be. And it was exactly what I have done after my exam – I went to the shopping center because I was hoping that something would “inspire” me and catch my attention, so I exposed myself to those marketing stimuli on purpose… and I was OK with that. Unfortunately what happens more often is that we don’t want to buy additional stuff when we go shopping with our “To Buy List”, but when we see interesting things in the store (eg. on sale) we can’t resist them and we put them into the basket. As a result, after returning home it turns out that we don’t need them at all or we are simply not happy with our purchase. Can we somehow control this? Of course we can! If we make purchases with our eyes wide open and remembering about some of the marketing techniques that aim to draw customers and manipulate them, we won’t be deceived and we’ll be spending our money wisely and in more conscious way – which will benefit not only our home budget, but also our conscience.

I’ve just thought that I’ll present you a series of posts about the most common marketing techniques and tricks that companies use in their stores in order to increase sales. It will be a mix of psychology, consumers’ behaviour and marketing, but this is extremely broad topic and it would be very hard to discuss all of them, so I will present the most frequently used methods. I really hope this knowledge will help you to effectively defend against them when you are shopping. :)

First I would like to write how those tricks appeal to our senses and it will be in one of my next posts... so stay tuned! ;)

Photo: letsintern.com

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