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How To Avoid Using the Wrong Psychological Tactics in Your Marketing.

Motivating people to take action is not an easy job. People are continuously weighing their options, in many cases their subconscious mind is really driving their behavior. This is why marketers are always re-shaping the way products and services are framed – in an attempt to trigger the emotional responses of uncertain buyers.

Unfortunately, many companies employ psychologically manipulative tactics in their efforts to drive consumer behavior. This is not the way to win hearts and minds! There are honest ways to appeal to the emotions that drive decisions that will attract consumers effectively AND ethically. (This is at the very core of using Neuromarketing principles in your marketing strategy.) Here are a few examples of what to do, and what not to do with your marketing efforts. 

DO: Be Authentic & Upfront

DON’T: Use targeted fear tactics 

According to a study on consumer behavior, a more effective marketing tactic involves getting ideas across to consumers rather than selling something. One way this is done is by evoking a personal fear in which your product/service eliminates the prospective pain. There is a fine line of ethical dilemmas involved in this approach, which may be one reason why Facebook recently banned this type of advertising across the platform.  See how this is done below: 

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Good marketing inspires trust rather than fear. Your goal should be to attract consumers by being authentic and honest about your product/service. This, in return, will optimize your credibility. State the problem that your product or service solves, but don't embellish it. If you present clear information, followed by supporting claims (such as real testimonials), the facts should speak for themselves! Like this:


What do honest inbound marketing services look like? Read more about it here.

DO: Use Clever or Cute Visuals

DON’T: Objectify Women OR Men

Studies have shown that psychological appeals can resonate more with consumers than feature and function appeals. This is why you see brands capitalizing on sexual attraction to sell a completely unrelated product. However, there are long-term societal consequences of these depictions. (Here’s a recent study about the dilemmas with objectification, as example).

Instead, you can bring people joy by using cute or clever visuals. The cute factor fits in well with numerous marketing strategies such as the Inbound Marketing methodology, where the goal is to entertain and delight potential customers. It cuts through the noise to speak straight to human emotion. If done right, using the cute factor in marketing can both surprise and leave a lasting impression.


DO: Make Promotional Offers

DON’T: Have Hidden Fees

Running a limited time promotion can be a win-win situation. The consumer gets a good deal on a product/service and you get to see immediate results. This is also the perfect opportunity to create a sense of urgency and make the consumer feel like a winner. But remember that marketers should always mean what they say!

Don’t offer discounted prices just to end with hidden fees. This tactic is timeless, and its most recent incarnation can be found on travel booking sites — where you invest your time weighing decisions based on the base price, only to discover a “resort fee” or “destination fee” at final payment. I can tell you personally that this is one of the most infuriating tactics out there. Deception is the easiest way to dump a potential customer.



Bottom line, honest marketing is the best marketing. Pair that with consistent A/B testing, a solid brand narrative, and clear objectives – then you’re on the right track! If you need help, or have questions, contact us for any of your marketing needs. If you still have questions, look at this resource...