Marketing is about people, and people are all about psychology. Let’s delve deep into the cognitive biases that shape consumer behavior. As marketers and salespeople, you should take notice of these tricks that you can use today!

As individuals, we think that we are rational beings. The reality, however, is that our actions are far less logical and reasoned than we think. The bad news: we are all fallible and subject to countless, cognitive biases. The good news: the same is true for all other people.

9 Cognitive Biases that Influence Consumer Behavior

So, let’s delve deep into the cognitive biases that shape consumer behavior. As marketers and salespeople, you should take notice of these phenomena that are part of the discipline of neuromarketing.

Because of this, below I describe 9 fascinating psychological phenomena and the awesome tricks that they make possible.

1. Anchoring: First is Best

“Anchoring,” or focalism, is the tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. Usually, this will be the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject.

RevelX Tip!

In proposals, always start by explaining the big and preferably quantitative benefits of your offering such as “how much savings” or “how big an efficiency increase” is realized with your offering. Then later, mention your price which is hopefully much smaller than the aforementioned benefits. By doing so, and in this order, your price will seem lower, even lower than the exact same prices of your competitor who has failed to use this mechanism.

2. Availability Cascade: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

The availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse. As all propagandists know: repeat something long enough, and it will become true.

RevelX Tip!

When your website, brand, or product is referenced repeatedly by others, people are more likely to think highly of it. The more social buzz you generate, the better.

Create “mini brands” as we do with our Growth Academy and The Growth Hack Daily and continuously create buzz around these brands.

3. Base Rate Fallacy: Only Seeing the Details

“Base rate fallacy,” or base rate neglect, is the tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general information) and focus on specific information (information only pertaining to a certain case).

RevelX Tip!

Don’t just share information about your product such as boring statistics, figures, features, etc. Instead, show how your product works using specific examples. Use cases studies and user testimonials and make them as remarkable as you can. Be sure to stand out!

4. Cheerleader Effect: R-E-V-E-L-X!!!

The “cheerleader effect” is the tendency for people (or messages) to appear more attractive in a group than in isolation.

RevelX Tip!

Never show people just one single message or image — display groups of testimonials, products, offerings, team members, etc., etc.

5. Decoy Effect: An Offer You Cannot Refuse

When we are talking of the “decoy effect,” preferences for either option A or B change in favor of option B when option C is presented which is similar to option B but is in no way better.

For example, you can sell an e-book for 9 euro, a hardcopy of the book for 20 euro, and the combination of both for 21 euro. This proposition makes the third option seem inexpensive, although it actually is the most expensive one.

RevelX Tip!

If you have different variations of the same product (e.g., small vs. large, or 8GB vs. 16GB), insert a third option in the middle that makes the option that you don’t want people to buy seem foolish.

6. Empathy Gap: Don't Forget that People Are People

The empathy gap is the tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings in either oneself or others.

RevelX Tip!

Try to establish a real connection with a person first. Get a feeling for his personal and business needs, sympathize, and only then start working on business issues.

7. Focusing Effect: Explaining Your Product

The focusing effect is the tendency to place too much importance on one aspect of an event.

RevelX Tip!

Customers will tend to focus on one thing about your product or service rather than lots of things. Instead of just spewing a list of benefits and features at the customer, focus on one thing — most importantly, something that will substantially improve the customer’s quality of life. In other words, you have to explain why your product is fantastic and don’t be too subtle or balanced!

8. Forer Effect: Wow! It's Like They Know Me!

The “Forer effect” is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them but are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.

The Forer effect is also known as the “Barnum effect.” Yes, that Barnum… (I knew you would like that tidbit of information.)

RevelX Tip!

Use personalization as much as possible in your marketing efforts. For example, communicate “You will have noticed,” “You may experience,” etc., rather than “It is generally known.” or “It is scientifically proven.”

9. Illusion of Control: Self-inflated Customers

The tendency to overestimate one’s degree of influence over other external events is called the “illusion of control.”

RevelX Tip!

People love to believe that they are in control. If you can give the user some degree of choice or influence over the conversion process, he or she will be more likely to have a self-inflated view and therefore be empowered to complete the conversion.

So, use status updates, tick boxes, process charts, decision flows, etc. all the time. Always show customers where you are in a process and what their degrees of freedom are, guided by you.

Neuromarketing in Your Business

In the past, neuromarketing was limited to multinationals with huge budgets. Using EEG, fMRI, and eye-tracking technologies just weren’t cost-effective for regular businesses. Today that has changed. We now understand enough about neuromarketing from previous case studies that any business – large or small – can leverage the way the human brain works.

So, you can deploy this method, too! If you need more information about this subject, you can read an interview here that I conducted about neuromarketing. You can also contact me right away!

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