There’s no denying that social media and the digital age that we’re in has negatively affected mental health. Time and time again, studies show a negative correlation between mental health and social media, especially with the younger generations.
Whether you’re a content creator or marketing specialist, chances are the marketing tactics you use are related to psychology. Marketing can contribute positively or negatively to your audience’s mental health and wellbeing. Knowing what psychological tricks in marketing do can help you market more mindfully, especially in the age of COVID-19.
How is marketing related to psychology?
Marketing that uses psychological tricks to evoke emotion is known as neuromarketing. This form of marketing uses neuroscience to understand how consumers’ brains react to certain marketing stimuli.
All marketing is psychology. Every advertisement aims to elicit an emotional response from the consumer, persuading them to buy into the product or service. A few examples of marketing psychology include:
FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a popular marketing technique that relates to loss aversion. This tactic is a big part of many marketing campaigns, from phrases like “don’t miss out” to advertising time-sensitive sales. FOMO creates a sense of urgency to persuade the consumer that they’ll regret not buying your product or service.
“Social proof” is a technique that pressures consumers to do something because everyone else is doing it. You probably use this technique already through categories like “best sellers” or showcasing reviews on your website or socials. One of the more prominent examples of social proof is the recent rise of influencer marketing.
Check out how influencer marketing can help your business in our previous blog post.
This is the wording high-tech or innovative companies use pro-innovation bias to convince consumers they need their product. Phrases like “the world’s first…” or “introducing the revolutionary…” are designed to make you feel that you have to be one of the first to buy this new piece of technology or product.
What can marketing do to your mental health?
Of course, many of these techniques are harmless. However, many ads use techniques that tell consumers they’re inadequate without that product or service. There is a constant stream of advertisements that tell you your body isn’t good enough or clothes aren’t trendy enough – that you’re not enough. They then advertise their product as helping you live a more satisfying life. These can subconsciously damage your self-esteem and your perception of yourself and the world.
Even some products meant to improve your life can shame you. For example, eco-friendly products persuade you by making the average consumer feel responsible for saving the environment. In reality, corporations and big businesses account for most of the pollution and plastic waste in our oceans. Buying a reusable straw is great for reducing your own carbon footprint, but won’t do much in terms of tangible change – but it sure is a good marketing tactic.
Despite the knowledge that some marketing tactics impact your mental health, the fact still remains that marketing is rooted in psychology. So what can we do?
How can we improve?
All of this isn’t to say that marketing is inherently bad or intentionally manipulative. Instead, marketers need to be more aware of the marketing strategies they use and how they use them. Taking into account the mental health and wellbeing of your target audience can benefit consumers as well as companies.
Balancing ethics with profit can show that you care about the messages you’re putting into the world, and the people you’re selling to. In fact, offering support and being authentic about something so stigmatized can help you build trust with customers.
You can’t untangle psychology from marketing, but you can make it shift to focus more on what your service or product provides rather than what the consumer lacks.
If you want to create more meaningful marketing, contact us to request a free digital assessment.
Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.