Being a great marketer or sales person is primarily about understanding how and why people think and act the way they do. It’s a role that combines both a creative intuition with the logical half of the brain, responsible for understanding psychology and human behaviour.
In order to sell successfully to consumers, a business must first understand the psychology of how they feel, reason and choose, the psychology of how consumers are influenced by their environment and the behaviours of consumers while making decisions.
Consumer behaviour is the study of how people (either as individuals or demographic groups) use, experience and discard the messages they receive from businesses. So consumer behaviour on an individual level may be about appealing to the person’s age, culture, gender, interests or occupation, whereas on a group level it’s about understanding that people are influenced by the people around them (like someone might be more likely to buy the same clothes as their friends, or the same household products as their parents).
Understanding consumer behaviour is simply step one though. The real key here is to know how to apply it. The most obvious is for your marketing strategy. Understanding how they’re likely to be received will make for better marketing campaigns. Like advertising for food in the late afternoon, when people are likely to be hungry (and therefore more receptive to your ad). Or labelling a product as “the perfect gift” around Christmas or Mother’s Day, as people are more likely to spend more on others than on themselves.
Another way to apply your knowledge of consumer behaviour is through social marketing. This is all about getting ideas across (as opposed to selling something) to your consumers. Maybe you want to encourage a certain behaviour; in which case, it’s about understanding what may be preventing people from doing it in the first place (like seeing a GP for important tests that people may put off due to embarrassment).
Of course being an excellent marketer, in turn also makes us better consumers. Understanding consumer behaviour means that you’re well versed in the tactics that companies may be using, and allows you to shop smarter with your own purchases. Given that the psychology of marketing will help you buy and sell more successfully, it’s definitely worth learning as much as you can.