How To Successfully Use Consumer Bias

Marketing Insights for Professionals

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Consumer bias influences buying decisions in a number of ways and can benefit marketers who have an understanding of how it impacts customers.


Every consumer has biases that can impact decisions they make, such as purchases. These can often be seen as illogical, going against what research tells us they should do, and sudden, snap decisions that are made quickly and, seemingly, with little thought.

Consumer bias can affect what products someone places in their basket, which brand they choose and even how they shop. This means that understanding how best to use consumer bias can help marketers develop campaigns that will see the best possible responses.

Essentially, consumer bias is caused by shortcuts in our thinking that we may not even be aware of. This means they can get in the way of marketers' carefully laid paths that they want customers to follow in order to entice them to convert.

While personalization through cognitive marketing can help, in part, to overcome some of these biases, understanding how you can use them in a strategy can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, successfully making bias work for you could be the way to really see results from a campaign.

Look At The Trends

One type of bias that consumers experience regularly is the desire to make decisions that are seen as socially acceptable. Forbes explains that this means that people will usually pick the option that they think will be seen as better by others, especially if doing so in a public place. While the effect of this can lessen if a consumer is making a decision on their own, it can still be used successfully by marketers.

Although a product or service should stand out and be different from competitors', you should still take into account current social trends when marketing it. If it is seen as more acceptable to buy a product that fits with a trend, you don't want to advertise something that is completely separate from it.

Being aware of trends in your industry and making use of them within marketing strategies can help you use social desirability bias to your advantage.

Mix Positive and Negative

We all know that being too negative about a product is going to have an impact on the way customers view it. However, the same goes for positivity, as being too optimistic about it can also put customers off unconsciously as they will see it as being "too good to be true", explains Social Media Today.

You cannot showcase too much positivity without a little bit of negativity to add balance and vice-versa. While marketing should, on the whole, be positive, it also needs to be realistic as this can be more persuasive.

This doesn't mean pointing out any bad points in an obvious manner, instead, of only listing positive attributes, balance them out with carefully placed negative ones. For example, rather than stating that an item isn't covered under free delivery, end a description with a note about low delivery costs. So long as the positive descriptions are the main focus, this will not impact a consumer in a negative way.

First and Last

One of the most important consumer biases is the fact that our brains focus on the first and last piece of information we are presented with. This happens, as Mumbrella explains, because our brains want to hold on to important information while using as little energy as possible.

What this means is that the first and last thing you show a consumer need to be the most important aspects of a product in order to influence their buying behavior. Putting vital information that will trigger the right response in the middle of an advert or a page will mean there is a good chance it will be lost. Understanding this principle can change consumer habits in a huge way, altering how they walk around a supermarket to what items they are more likely to place in their online cart.

It doesn't just work with visual elements either, as our brains are more likely to remember the first and last words of phrases heard. In terms of video advertising, this offers an effective way to ensure consumers remember a product name and a brand tagline, which can affect their behavior and ensure they remember your message.

While these are some of the more common biases, it is important to note that consumer bias based on personal experience is a lot more difficult to predict, even with the right data. This means that you cannot use all consumer biases effectively, but understanding the key ones could have a big impact. 

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