Psychology in Sales and Marketing



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Psychology in Sales and Marketing

            In the past decades, companies employed psychologists as well as behavioural experts to help in the development of their company sales and marketing strategies and campaigns. These psychologists and behavioural experts developed various strategies to boost sales and marketing of a company, after studying the minds of most consumers. In 1957, Vance Packard in his book, ‘The Hidden Persuaders,’ revealed to the public the fact that advertisements of companies were highly influenced by psychologists and behavioural scientists, who took their time to study the minds of consumers of different products, as well as their behaviour. This book was widely read in America, as most consumers realized how advertisers were using hidden symbols in their adverts in order to convince consumers to buy products, even if these were not their priority. An example by Packard on how psychology is applied in advertising is when in a movie theatre, flashes of orders to buy popcorns are viewed on the screen at a fast interval, beyond which a conscious mind could perceive, making many people in the theatre to buy popcorns (American Psychological Association WEB). During Packard’s time, advertising agencies employed many psychologists to help in the development of ads that would guarantee high product sales. Today, due to economic constraints, psychologists are not highly employed in some advertising agencies, as was the case in the 1950’s. Nonetheless, the advertisements of today, just like those of the 1950’s still base on psychology in order to be effective, thus boosting company sales.

Advertisements are the main marketing procedures where psychologists ansd behavioural scientists are employed. Effective adverts reflect well on a company’s sales and marketing procedure, as these boost sales in the company. Advertisements today base on various psychological principles, in order to appeal to consumers. The main principle is that of persuasion (Buddha7575 WEB). Persuasion in adverts comes in different ways. Psychologists have researched and found out that if human beings are persuaded to do something, they will always comply, since this is human nature. Most adverts today employ emotional appeals to make consumers buy their products or change their behaviours. For instance, a popular advert about environmental pollution featured an American Indian boy, who was shown crying, while confronting the effects of environmental pollution. The appeal to Americans was that, everyone was dealing with environmental pollution, so should they. This kind of appeal is considered by psychologists to work better than the cognitive adverts. Persuasion in adverts has proved to bear positive effects on product sales (Buddha7575 WEB).

Psychologists believe that for an advert to increase product sales, it must first of all capture the attention of the consumer. Secondly, the advert should make the consumers’ attention be focused on its message. In addition, after focusing on the message, the advert should have the capability of making a consumer remember the message it bears. Finally, an advert should make the consumer to buy the product, as this is the main aim of the advert (Scott WEB). From these, psychologists in advertising have developed different strategies, or principles, to ensure that all the four steps are achieved in the process of advertising. Adverts today also base on the principle of vision and perception. Most of the adverts are designed in a way that they first attract the attention of viewers, before indulging in any explanations by voice. Attention from viewers is normally grabbed by mesmerizing visuals in the advert. For instance, while advertising sausages, a frozen sausage could be made to roll slowly, until it fills the whole television screen. Such an image will stick in the viewers’ minds, and they will be interested in listening to the verbal speech thereafter. By using visuals in advertisements, psychologists know that the human brain is capable of coding the images, therefore, making it easy for viewers to remember the advert or associate the image with a particular product. This makes the consumer buy the product advertised because of the familiarity concept, thus increasing sales of the product (American Psychological Association WEB).

The use of company logo at the end of the advert is an approach that is employed in most adverts today. Pepsi and Coke pioneered this in the 1960’s, where the images in their adverts ended with a showcase of company name and logo. The use of company logo in adverts makes the viewer to remember the company name, even if they have not grasped many details of the advert (Scott WEB). In the print media, advertisements are based on the aspect of brain lateralization, which is a psychological function. Most adverts in the print media place faces and other images on the left side of the page. This has been proven to capture the attention of readers more than those images placed on the right side of the page. While the image or face is placed on the left side, any words that accompany the image are placed on the right side of the image. Additionally, it is proven that if the brand name is located at the bottom right of the image, it is hard for most viewers to code it into their brains (Scott WEB).

The use of ‘role model’ stories in advertisements is also known to result in changes in consumer behaviour. For instance, an advertisement that seeks to increase condom use by people could feature a woman, who is afraid of asking her partner to use condoms. However, when her friends succumb to HIV/Aids, she takes courage to ask her partner for condom use, to avoid facing HIV death. Such an advert that bases on reality would make many viewers change their behaviours to avoid experiencing what other people have experienced before, because of their failure to use a certain product (American Psychological Association WEB).

Today there are different forms of media in society. Therefore, advertising varies across these media forms. In radio adverts, psychologists mainly focus on the sounds and words, as only these will determine the effectiveness of the advert. On the other hand, psychologists working on internet advertisements will focus on colours and visuals. Additionally, the television adverts mainly base on visuals, as well as emotions, depending on the context used.  Finally, the print media such as newspapers will focus on use of space, as well the theme of the advert. In internet and television, the aspects of motion, contrasting colours, and capitalized letters are employed in adverts. In the print media, capitalized letters can be used. All these aspects are meant to attract the attention of viewers to the product being advertised (Scott WEB).

Psychology in advertising is crucial, but should conduct its purpose without causing any form of harm to viewers. Just like in science, it is possible for psychologists in advertising to cross the boundaries of what is acceptable in society, as they search for answers. An example of this phenomenon was experienced in America, in the 1970’s, when most psychologists engaged in subliminal advertising. This kind of advertising was banned in the country, as it was believed to result in brainwashing of the consumers, which is unethical (American Psychological Association WEB). Although most companies that employed this kind of advertising had achieved high sales for their products, brainwashing of consumers is unacceptable in marketing, thus this method of advertising had to be banned.

In conclusion, the process of sales and marketing in a company is of essence, as it enables the company products to be known by consumers, as well as encouraging these to be bought by them. Advertising is also an important part of marketing, which is meant to increase sales in the company. In this marketing component, psychologists have been used to ensure that consumers get the right message about the products, and thereafter, buy the products, to increase company sales. Different psychological principles are developed and used by psychologists in the creation of adverts that will appeal to viewers and make them buy the product. Among these are visuals, brain lateralization, colour contrast, motion, and use of space, among other elements. Effective advertisement leads to increased sales. However, psychologists are encouraged not to pay too much attention on the sales from adverts, but also ensure that the psychological tactics used in adverts are not harmful to the viewers in any way whatsoever.


Works Cited

American Psychological Association (APA). ‘Advertising as Science.APA, 33(9): 38. Viewed

14 March 2013 <>

Buddha7575. Advertising – What Psychological Tricks do they Use? Youtube. 20 January 2007.

Viewed 14 March 2013 <>

Scott, Walter. ‘The Psychology of Advertising.’ The Atlantic. 19 January 2004. Viewed 14

March 2013 <>

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