5 Cognitive Biases That Help in Your Marketing

Highly Active BrainDid you know that cognitive biases can help you in your marketing of your small and medium business? So, what are there "cognitive biases"?

They are those little tricks our mind plays on us. Now, our brain is capable of some very powerful processing work. Despite this, it is prone to making bizarre assumptions and jumping to conclusions every now and then. They are so built into the fabric of our thought, that they seem very normal and don’t even realize when they take over. We can’t fight them. Like it or not, these biases tend to become a part of us. But, You don’t have to be a victim of these biases, but can get them to work for you. Especially in the context of marketing your small business.

Curated from the best on the web, listed below are 5 such cognitive biases that you can use in your marketing. I have tried to summarize a marketing takeaway for each.

The “Decoy” Effect

Dan Ariely

Image downloaded from C2 Labs Montreal Event website. Copyright unknown

This was pioneered by Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University. Ariely stated that when confronted with making a decision between two choices, it is best to introduce a third option. This forces the person to make a decision between the original two.

Takeaway – study the situation and always introduce a third “decoy” option. This will make sure that your prospect takes a decision. Most likely between the original two options you had proposed.

The “Illusory Truth” Effect

Dr. Jeremy Dean, noted psychologist with University College London, states that “repetition is one of the easiest and most widespread methods of persuasion”. The more times a person hears a statement, the truer it becomes.

Takeaway – determine your core message and the deliver it over and over and over and over again. The prospect will then come to believe it. 

The “I like it as it is” Effect

When faced with change and status quo we are wired to choose the default option – status quo. Even if the change is better. And this is because change requires energy.

Takeaway: Don’t force change upon your prospect or buyers. Don’t overload them to take a decision. For, when they are overwhelmed, they will stick to the tried and tested. Underline how easy your product or service is. How it does not require any (or too much) energy to make the shift. 

Cognitive Biases and Anchor effectThe “Anchoring” Effect

Even though we know that a book cannot be judged by its cover. However, for good or bad, the first piece of information we receive about something tends to colour our perception. The initial details acts as an anchor to which everything else is compared.

Takeaway – always remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Very carefully plan as to how you will introduce yourself to your prospect. Make sure that the very first piece of information your prospect receives about you is positive. And it sets the expectation for the buying process. 

The “Serial Position” Effect

Legendary German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus is said to have propounded this theory. In a list, people are inclined to remember what they encounter first and last. Rather than what they see in the middle. Research has established that the memory high points are always at the beginning and end of a list.

Takeaway – this is important if your prospect communication has a sequential listing. Better to list them in a way to position the key elements in the beginning and end of the list.

Go forth and implement

Image from freedigitalphotos.net under Creative Commons, Stuart Miles

These are the most common cognitive biases, that often work against you. By curating them here in our blog, I hope that you, as a small and medium business person, are able to turn them to working for you and help you in your marketing strategies.

Now, go implement!!



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