April 14, 2015

Smart Marketing: The Psychology of the Consumer Part 1

Improve your marketing by understanding consumer psychology

How do consumers select between different brands and products?


‘Consumer behaviour’ is defined as “The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.”

1. Your Consumer

We all need insight into the behaviour of consumers during their purchase decisions; this is when we have a chance to influence. Become part of their decision process by improving your marketing to reach the consumer at the right time as effectively as possible.

Smart Timing – Give consumers the information they want WHEN they want it. For example, consumers are more receptive to food advertising when they are hungry, make sure you schedule snack advertisements late in the afternoon. Hands up who else receive texts from Domino’s pizza on Fridays at 4pm advertising their Fri night deal?… they understand consumer psychology.

So have a little think about the best times to be presenting your product.. advertise your ice-cream sundae on hot days and your hot soup deal on a cold day. Take a look at the times of day and week your social media is most likely to be shared/liked/commented on or get the greatest reach.

Smart Communication -New products are usually adopted by a few consumers and only spread later through word of mouth; gradually spreading to the rest of the population.  Through this observations we learn that it is important to please initial customers, since they will in turn influence many subsequent customers’ choices. Actively seek feedback from customers. Consumers are more receptive to recommendations from fellow consumers (especially friends) than traditional marketing; this is one of many reasons why social media can be so powerful (as people can share your posts with their friends and spread the word). Trip Advisor has become an overnight success on an international scale by understanding the value of non-biased customer reviews; it has become a key tool for people deciding how to spend their time and money.

A great way to multiply word of mouth about your business is to encourage customers to review your business and provide a testimonial. Many businesses are using Trip Advisor business cards to great effect. Make sure you try them too.

2. Consumer Research

Market research is often needed to ensure that we produce what customers really want and not what we think they want.
Several tools are available to the market researcher—e.g. observation, surveys and focus groups


I personally believe that observation of consumers is the most powerful tool we have just now.
This may traditionally be reserved for videoing people browsing in stores BUT it can also be applied to ‘observing ‘ consumers digitally. Which YOU can do easily.

Smart Tracking – Get familiar with your Google Analytics and see how your customers use your website: What pages they’re going to and what they are avoiding, which pages they stay on the longest and which pages they bounce from. You can even see how people GET to your website, what search terms they are using or what proportion are coming in from your social networking pages. What are the search terms you think you SHOULD be found under? If these are not bringing consumers your way, they must them be going a competitor yes?

 Smart Analysis – Try and see your business through your customer’s eyes. Trip Advisor is  a feeding ground for sharp marketers. Honest consumer feedback, when they have time and can provide a considered response (that they would perhaps not give you to your face when they are rushing out of your door to do something else). Look through and read impartially, what are the common ‘complaints’, what are the common positives? The ‘negatives’ may indicate to you why others are turning to your competitors and often this information is given unwittingly. A Boat Trip company we are working with had feedback through Trip Advisor that a customer although delighted with their day was still a little disappointed it wasn’t the thrill ride they though it would be. A thrill ride? Is that the impression people are getting? That’s not what this boat trip do! Armed with this knowledge they were able to make subtle changes to their website that dealt with this.

You can also ‘observe’ on social media – which kind of posts are shared most and liked most and at what times?


Asking customers for some quick feedback is incredibly valuable. A closed questionnaire can build a profile of age, gender, home address etc .

Smart Talking– However, if you conduct an open interview (face to face), respondents are heavily influenced by interviewer behaviour (however much you try and hide it) and generally people and are very intuitive in telling you what you want to hear. Look for additional resource avenues to help you get results. Here at ADS we had some wonderful students from Glasgow Business School who worked with us to complete their dissertation. They devised a questionnaire aimed at all the users of our iSign visitor information network, undertook interviews and analysed the results.

You can conduct surveys through telephone calls to customers, stopping people outside your shop, asking random visitors in the local area what they are looking to do are all other avenues to rich data.
Don’t have time? Like us, a useful resource that you may be able to tap into is your local university or college who usually have a group of students doing a marketing related course who are looking for meaningful opportunities for the various projects they have to produce. It is definitely worth a call to explain what kind of business you are, what you wish done and see if they can help you while you help them.

Focus Groups

Although a university student may LOVE the chance to create and run a focus group it may not be in your comfort zone! However, taking some impartial advice is. Think about who would be able to give you a little insight. Would the local B&B provide insight as to why their guests chose one activity over another? Would friends and family get together to discuss your business in return for dinner? What about the local Chamber of Commerce? A local interest group?

In Summary

If you want to take a bit more control but need help to figure out your next step, please feel free to contact us here for some free advice.

Next article….

Smart Marketing: The Psychology of the Consumer Part 2

The Digital Visitor

The next article will explore in depth the current trends and preferences of consumers in the leisure industry and what the most effective ways are to influence their purchasing decisions successfully.




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