Marketing Psychology


One of the greatest tools a marketer can use is understanding how and why people act the way they do. Knowing how to create content that appeals to your audience and that is personalised to target the right people is key. Without jumping in to all the nuts and bolts of marketing, it’s helpful to know just how people operate.

Understanding key principles in psychology can take your marketing efforts from good to great, all because you’re starting to target the right people in the right places, the right way. Once you understand the principles behind marketing psychology and integrate them into your marketing strategies, you’ll start attracting those prospective customers you weren’t able to reach before.

Many of these marketing psychology concepts can be used across all aspects of your business. Here are our 5 concepts you can use in your marketing strategies.

Recency Illusion

Most people have experienced this. You see a product and all of a sudden, you’re seeing it everywhere you look. While it may be part of some clever retargeting advertising online. It’s most likely due to what’s known as the “recency illusion”. This happens after a first encounter with a product or service and you begin noticing it everywhere.

How to apply to your marketing

One of the more useful marketing psychology principles when designing your marketing campaigns. You should aim to develop strong integrated campaigns across a broad spectrum. By doing this you’re not “pigeon-holing” your marketing to one type of platform, you’ll not only be seen by a whole new audience but more importantly, you will reinforce your marketing message with the people who have already encountered it on other platforms, giving you the “recency illusion”.


A basic principle in the psychology of relationships is called the Principle of Reciprocity. Basically, this principle defines our human need to want to give something back when something is received. This need is also strongest when a gift is received without expectation of being returned. A perfect example is at the lowest level – simple social gestures, a “thank you” in response to an act of kindness is still followed by the reciprocal gesture of accommodation “you’re welcome”.

How to apply to your marketing

Giving away something for free to help build solid relationships and customer loyalty. It doesn’t have to be hours worth of work or your most expensive product. Something as simple as some branded merchandise, free desktop backgrounds etc… can go a long way in establishing reciprocity. With small gestures like these you’ll be a step closer to building solid relationships and turning visitors or “one-offs” into returning customers.

Verbatim Effect

According to this psychological concept, the Verbatim Effect or “fuzzy-trace theory” is that people are more likely to remember the “gist” of your content – a fuzzy idea of what is was about, rather than the long, detailed piece you created. For example, people will remember that your marketing campaign was generally about ‘marketing ideas’, not necessarily the details behind the content.

How to apply to your marketing

In today’s world, people rarely stop to take a second and read or hear what your marketing has to say, especially since ads are absolutely everywhere. Given the “Verbatim Effect” you should try to keep your ads simple, easily memorable and as descriptive as possible. Your headlines should be short and informative, remember that most people will only glance over your ad for a few seconds, so use it wisely.


The concept of Scarcity is – “HURRY, ONLY 3 REMAIN!”. This marketing psychology concept relates back to the formula of supply and demand – the more rare the opportunity or product, the more valuable it is. Be careful how this is worded though. Approaching the “Scarcity Concept” as if there used to be a lot of stock, but, due to popular demand – only a few remain, customers will be a lot more receptive. Alternatively if you approach it from an angle that there were only a few products to start with, the principle won’t be nearly as effective.

How to apply to your marketing

This is a great tactic to use when planning events or for retail businesses. If you’re looking for sales, it’s worth sending a personalised emails to people who haven’t yet registered to remind them that there are only X number of stock left since so many others have registered.


As humans we can only hold a certain amount of information in our short-term memory. Most people can only remember seven pieces of information (give or take a couple in any given situation) at a time. Because of this, people “cluster” similar pieces of information together.

How to apply to your marketing

As with most advertising, you want to keep it simple. Keep your ads down to one offer or one product. Focussing on similar topics, either bullet points or separating sections clearly with larger header sizes will be much easier for the reader to scan and easier to remember.

To put some of these concepts into practice, call Out Of Bounds, to work with you on developing creative advertising that gets the results you want. Contact us today on (08) 9316 8860 or email

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