Customer Bias Marketing: 4 Approaches You Should Know

October 22, 2018

Customer Bias Marketing: 4 Approaches You Should Know

Humans are the only living organisms that believe in stories and conceptualise over-the-top theories about the world and how things function.

Our unique brains and systems of thinking yields to certain unconscious biases we may not be aware of. These biases have been exploited by marketers and sales people for ages and will be used for several more years to come.

As a Marketer, these biases can be leveraged to make your marketing processes feel like a breeze. Marketing and advertising have deeper psychological layers few fail to notice.

Example,  have you wondered why most fast food restaurants have the colors red and yellow in their branding?

Or the fact that the design principle behind the logos of most social media networks are usually the first letter of the brand name mostly in a shade of blue?

Well the answers are that Yellow and Red are colors that stimulate the hyper active regions of the brain hence making your demand for food more intense than it needs to be. Likewise blue is a color that brings people at peace hence an inviting color. Very much like taking a dip in the ocean so how harmless can it be.

These are but a few of the biases that are used in marketing and branding let me also highlight a few.


Social proof

Social proof is one of the most overused tactics in marketing, yet it still works. Because it is a bias that is really strong on the human conscience. The fact that everyone is claiming that a product is great makes you the odd one out if you claim the product is not that great. Nobody wants to be the odd one out because it comes with sanctions. Therefore we tow the line to fit in.

Marketers know this hence this bias is buttressed in marketing especially with expert recommendations.

You read things like

9 out of 10 dentists recommends a toothpaste


9 out of 10 makeup artists recommend a beauty product.

This tactic is basically to let you know that experts who know better than you in a particular field are recommending a product hence you can be rest assured you’re buying a quality product.

Experts are used in recommending products because of their “influence”. This influence has yielded to a new form of marketing which is known as Influencer Marketing which is an extension of social proof.

Influencer Marketing has been expanded beyond experts to include popular people who have a wide social media following. Brands pick digital creatives to advertise their brand to their audiences. Since digital creatives usually have a tight-knit relationship with their audiences, they are more likely to buy products recommended by them.


Customers are passive (Get them to agree with your stated premise)

A lot of humans for better or for worse are generally passive, therefore making them agreeable to your marketing premise is important to getting them as customers.

It is necessary to put people in the mood when marketing. Get them to agree with you on everything and don’t break the chain. This trick was used by Legendary Ad copy writer Joseph Sugarman and it works. In his book the Adwriting compy handbook, he talks about beginning his sentence with short general sentences that forces the reader to read the second sentence.

So you can see examples such as

Traffic sucks.

We all hate being late for school

Broken tail light is a bad thing.

This is such a general statement that is inconvenient and everyone will agree with. Then make the next sentence agreeable to the end.

That is called a “slippery slope”, even if the prospect does not want the product. The purpose is to make sure they read the copy to the end. It is important to ask yourself whether you will read the ad copy you’re writing if you were the prospect.

Therefore being agreeable with targeted

Artificial Scarcity

There is a certain class of consumer who wants the exclusive, the premium and the luxury. she wants a product nobody has and usually those products come with a higher price tag. This is called The Veblen Effect, the desire for something as its prices go up.

This is a bias that works extremely well for products in the luxury goods market. If everyone drove a Lamborghini, a Mercedes or a Maybach. It would not have had the prestige it enjoys in the auto market. Therefore, for certain commodities, although the factors of production are available to produce them in large quantities, they are produced in smaller quantities to give the end user the feel of having something with prestige.

Luxury goods marketers sell products using this ideal.

In his book “Predictably Irrational”, Dan Ariely shares the story of a store that was trying to sell a necklace at a reasonable price point. Nobody wanted to buy it, then the store owner increased the price, then there was sudden interest in the necklace at that exorbitant price.


The Hawthorne Effect

People tend to act agreeably to stuff because they are in the presence of other people. This is where the idea of product sampling and sales come from. Especially for new products that want to make inroads in an already saturated market. Product sampling is a fast way to register clients and get the interested in the product. You can be rest assured that sales will arise as a result of this tactic especially in public places where people will most likely feel bad after sampling a product and not purchasing.


The marketing and sales process is psychological and emotional before there is exchange of funds for goods or services. Understanding a prospects psychological state and tweaking the sales process to suit it is imperative for achieving sales goals and targets. Critically access these biases and read further about other cognitive biases and heuristics. Question which of these biases work on you and analyse why they do. After that study your product and services and find where you can align these biases in the product/service delivery.

Good Luck!!!

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kwaku Abedi

Kwaku Abedi is Marketing, Public Relations & Digital Enthusiast

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