Digital Psychology: The Future Of Marketing Might Look Different Than You Think

Written by Helena_Andrade

On May 3, 2020
Digital Psychology and persuasion

As digital technologies reshaped consumer engagement, it has become unpredictable, fluid, and experimental. If you are a marketer, it’s your duty to help companies adapt to this challenge. That’s why I knew 2020 would be the year to further study what moves people. In other words: Digital Psychology.

That means going beyond Google Analytics for answers and learning how to use psychological frameworks. This helps us understand consumer behavior and influence purchase patterns. In other words: learning about Digital Psychology and Neuromarketing. Here is why they can ultimately lead you to more leads and conversions.

Why Digital Psychology Is Essential & Standard Marketing Is Usually Ineffective

While traditional marketing asks the consumer “what do you want?”, Neuromarketing looks at the physical changes happening to people’s bodies to figure out what they like, want, or tend to do. Its first and most disruptive concept is unfolding that a customer is a dual processing brain:

Daniel Kahneman, a world-renowned economy Nobel Prize winner, talks about these two brains as system one and system two. While system one is primal, system two is rational. Each brain performs a different role in our decision-making process.

Patrick Revoinse, cofounder of SalesBrain, perfectly summarized the differences between those two brains:

  • The rational brain is what makes unique living beings. It enables us to perform high-level cognitive functions such as language, judgment, abstract and complex thoughts. Slower but smarter than the primal, it reflects the past and outlines the future.
  • In contrast, the primal brain is fast but limited. It only lives in the present, never goes to sleep. Its focus is on the immediate experience. It enjoys familiar things because they are not threatening. Most important: it can hardly be controlled. 

When it comes to persuasion, the primal brain rules our decision making:

Persuasion is a bottom-up effect. Persuasion starts in the primal brain before radiating to the rational brain (Patrick Revoinse)

You and me? We are driven by the primal brain. System 1.

Kahneman and other researchers concluded that the primal brain (system 1) has the greatest impact on our decisions compared to the other system. It really drives persuasion. 

And I hate to spill the beans, but selling to the system 1 means selling to a selfish, irrational, and illogical thinking being.

? How Can You Sell To The Old Brain by using Digital Psychology?

The primal brain is selfish. Appeal to it!

Our primal brain only cares about itself. It looks for solutions to help it overcome its challenges. For instance, when writing a copy or approaching a lead, be careful when talking about yourself and your product/service.

For instance, saying these won’t lead you to more conversions:

  • How great/hype/effective your product is
  • How many badges/prizes/certifications your service has

– unless you say how it solves your audience’s problems.

Spotify masters the art of saying, “I get your feelings are confusing. We have a playlist for each of them in our streaming”.

Apply this concept easily today by:

1) Checking how many times you talk about yourself in a useless way. This means not correlating your strengths to your amazing ability to help a client.

2) Start using words like “You” and provide pictures from the consumer’s perspectives, as Roger Doolay advises.

Apply CONTRAST as much as possible.

The best way is to apply before/afterexamples. Our brain is hardwired to spot the differences. Other ideas: risky/safe, with/without, and fast/slow. Like I did recently in this customer case:

And Apple did in this advertising campaign :

Beginning and end matter.

Changes of state are the only trigger that works for the system 1. Thus in every marketing effort, the first and last thing is the ones people will remember. That’s why how you start and end your website copy, ads, or videos is extremely important.

Emotions: The powerful trigger if you want to sell to the old brain.

Neuroscience says that 95% of our decisions are subconscious. Since it does not involve the cognitive parts of the brain, usually consumers don’t know why they want certain things.

But they certainly recognize feelings. That’s why bringing pain points into awareness is an effective way to trigger your audience.

A spreadsheet, even with a fantastic value proposition, will not stimulate the Old Brain. You need emotional stimuli to reach the Old Brain. (Peep Laja)

I always gravitated toward emotion. I think this is your number 1 asset in Neuromarketing. Let me tell you why.

If you ever have worked with content or marketing, you probably heard about the importance of knowing your audience. By doing so, you can direct efforts towards them efficiently. And more often than we realize, emotions are connected with that; I would say 9 out of 10 times.

Realizing the critical role emotions play in decision making is a must for marketers.

Does your brand or content lack emotion? Then you have a real problem that is hindering the decision-making process. Content marketing, for instance, requires looking for ways to spark emotions in the people we’re writing for. That’s one of the most important takeaways in Digital Psychology and persuasion.

Safe to say, emotions just shouldn’t be just in your message – they should also be in your visuals. These are a few great examples of advertising pieces appealing to different feelings:

Keep digging to uncover the priceless emotional benefits your audience looks for. Make sure to address them in different ways in your marketing strategy.

? Be Aware Of Cognitive Biases – We’re All Affected By Them

Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways. Let’s do a quick quiz. How often do you state things like these (without solid research)?

  • Nobody reads printed press anymore!
  • Everyone hates mega menus! 
  • Who would want to eat that? 
  • Nobody clicks on ads!

If the answer is a clear “often“, it might be wise to review your approach. In the long run, a biased approach affects your perception, driving you to misleading assumptions.

And I include myself in that list: before becoming aware of my personal biases, they probably led me to assume things about my audience that weren’t true—a lesson for life.

  • Well, I am not biased, come on! – you might say while reading this post.

Even thinking that we aren’t influenced by bias means a bias. It is called Bias blind spot. So I highly recommend you to check the entire list of them here. And once and for all, keep in mind Peep’s words:

Never assume that people – especially target users of a website you’re working on – are like you. (Peep Laja)

Conclusion: Why Digital Psychology and Persuasion Matter

The best value proposition in the world is worth nothing if it doesn’t connect with your target users on a deep level. Applying digital psychology and persuasion concepts are effective ways to ensure that. They will lead your company to an increase in conversions and stronger brand loyalty.

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