The Psychology of Advertising

We have all been trained that buying decisions are made emotionally and that rational thought is used to support the emotional decision we’ve already made.  Facts so have a place in advertising and marketing of course but depending on the product or service being marketed the balance between facts (educating the prospective consumer on the facts and with data) and emotional benefits may be quite different.  Some studies suggest we care more about facts and rational advertising for Things at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, like food staples, medicine, and the very most basic shelter. On the other hand we may be more receptive to emotional ads that tout benefits directly or not for things we simply want, like cars or clothing.

The reality is in-between because marketers have built strong brands for products that should be completely commoditized.

It remains important that as marketers and advertisers we don’t get too caught up in the features of the products or services we are advertising.  Benefits are emotional, features are rational. Both need to be in an ad or marketing experience. Dr. Allison Kahner, a Clinical Psychologist noted that: “keeping up with the Jones’ and envy are emotional issues brought about partially based on marketing.” If that’s the case then the marketer’s dream (yes we are emotional too) is to have their brand so valued that consumers who don’t have it are jealous of those who do.  And that’s an emotionally driven scenario.

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