The Cognitive Biases Every Marketer Should Know Before Starting A Campaign

cognitive biasesEvery smart marketer needs to know the cognitive biases that affect customer behaviour for curating campaigns and engaging the public. Most people don’t understand the patterns in human behaviour which shape our lives from behind the scenes. But, I strongly feel that it is the job of every marketer to understand them to effectively place and sell products. 

Today, I am going to share some cognitive biases for creating successful campaigns back to back. The activity of processing information is known as cognition. This is the fundamental aspect of human survival and refers to innate responses in us. If I play an animation of a bomb explosion on the screen right now without any warning, you will naturally get scared. 

Market Insight: If your content isn’t inline with the customer expectations, you may frustrate 74% of them.

It is because fire has killed our ancestors since the prehistoric era. We are scared of it even if any such accident didn’t happen to us due to genetic memory. You can create such instant reactions among your target audience and convert them into paying clients. Let us start exploring cognitive biases and see if you can incorporate them in your ongoing and future conquests.

What is meant by a cognitive bias: The evolutionary gifts

We have access to a tremendous amount of information around the clock. Like any normal person, both you and I have limited memories and attention spans. We cannot pay attention to every detail or remember each event completely. Doing so will slow down the decision-making process significantly.

This was very risky for cavemen as spotting a predator needed instant hit or run reaction. Even today, if a car is raging towards us, calculating cosine angles and trajectory path isn’t sensible. So, we are basically using these evolutionary gifts as ‘mental shortcuts’ to rev up our responses.

Generally, all cognitive biases are related to memory and ultimately affect the cognition process. The gaps in our memory due to selective attention are filled out by the mind automatically. This leads to quick realizations and conclusions in us. 

They influence and govern our perception of the world while driving typical behaviours in masses. However, you can also use them to pursue your target segment to affirm, confirm, and buy whatever you are selling. 

Cognitive Biases To Consider Before Curating a Campaign Plan

In a marketing campaign, you will like to attract the maximum number of people to generate leads. On the contrary, marketing plans also tend to engage the existing client base and nurture loyalty. Dealing with people in huge numbers poses the need for the scientific design of the marketing copies.

Ideally, I suggest you take a systematic approach for understanding the information processing to coin USPs. You just need to fill the patches in their memory to influence the decision-making process to your advantage.

Finding the pitfalls, bridging the gaps, and streamlining the customer journey are the main motives of using cognitive biases. Have a look at the following biases and their effects on the human thought process. 

Dunning-Kruger Effect 

I reckon that you will see this bias all around yourself. Whenever a blessed actor is interviewed, he won’t talk like an established artist. They can’t comment on their own performances or even feel anything too great. On the other hand, we all watch a barely known actor bragging on television. This is due to the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

It deceives subject matter experts into being sceptical about their own skillset. We tend to consider this phenomenon as modesty. It also tricks rookies into believing that they know a lot more than everybody else. 

You can onboard new clients by utilizing either of the two probable reactions. An advertisement with the opening sequence “Are you sure about doing the XYZ thing right all these years?” is a good example.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is based on our disdain to change. Under its influence, we consider the already known information as the basis of analysis. The existing set of memory will try to justify known entities while denying anything contradictory. 

In the case of making a choice, we will deny anything that isn’t inline with our psychological reality. Overly creative marketing materials often violate this aspect. Before one and a half-century, telling anyone about self-propelled vehicles that don’t need horses was considered witchcraft. 

Well, Bertha drove the first Mercedez and proved it to be safe enough even for solo women drivers. Keep things believable or demonstrate because nobody buys too good concepts.

Self-Serving/ The Fundamental Attribution Effect

When was the last time you made a mistake deliberately? Also, try to recall when your spouse or kid made a mistake out of personal negligence? The first question doesn’t get many answers while the latter could result in long lists. That is self-serving/ fundamental attribution effect acting on your mind.

Self-serving bias makes us feel that we lost or failed due to someone else’s fault. The situations or the tools weren’t right for us. On the other hand, when the other person commits mistakes, we feel that they did it consciously. Pampering target class during a commercial becomes easy if you let them feel right during moments of despair.

Fundamental attribution effect refers to stereotypes. Like some folks believe that fat people eat more than necessary all the time. They could be facing some side effects or have problems with digesting food. But, one still feels that they are binge eating. 

The Decline Effect/ Backfire Effect

Resistance to change is also the reason behind this cognitive bias. Usually, people don’t trust new ideas and think that older stuff is too superior for replacement. Be it old cars or brands, you need to pour a lot of substance for changing this mindset. 

Surprisingly, they will also try to defend the existing things. How many of you guys have bumped into a brand loyalist who debates over the superiority of a product? In general, our mind tries to justify the cause of existing solutions and decline any changes as far as possible.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy/ Optimism-Pessimism Bias

Sunk cost refers to our desire to get something back in return for our involvement. Be it financial, physical, ideological, or emotional; we all want a fair return for our investments. But, what if we don’t get returns? A gambler faces such situations over and over again. They end up putting more to stake despite losing.

We seek to get returns despite the losses already made. You can also link it to the optimism-pessimism bias. It neglects the probability of a particular outcome over the other while predicting the results. We are under their influence whenever we decide to venture into something new.

Marketers can use them to pacify the agitated customers. They can also allure a new client base by creating a negative approach towards older products. Offering alternatives around them doubles your chances of triggering a purchase.

The Curse Of Knowledge And Hindsight Bias

When you get familiar with a new concept or a piece of information, you think that it is very obvious to know this. I find this very common in human behaviour even as school teachers go nuts when kids don’t learn a topic after explaining it two times or so. 

The hindsight bias affects us at the conclusion of an event or activity. Once we arrive at the end, our brain fills the gap in memory to make sense of the sequence of events. All of a sudden, you may realize that this outcome was bound to appear and I would have predicted it earlier had I paid a little attention.

Selling financial instruments is something I believe that requires both of these effects. It creates an emotional association with one’s aspirations, family, and overall life goals instantly. Creating commercials in-line with unpleasant consequences of ignoring your products is an easy way to instantly influence the buyers.

The Forer Effect

Con Men use this extensively in their pursuits to deceive people. If I tell you that you are a hard-working person, but people often fail to recognize your efforts. Many people consider your successes as flukes without understanding your backstage struggles. 

Market Statistics: A study finds that 77% of people want personalized products.

These are very generic descriptions that appeal to anyone you approach. Moreover, everyone seems to associate with these notions on a personal level. Using them results in the most simple forms of product introduction.

Negative Bias And In-Group Bias

When a high risk is involved, we tend to outweigh negative results. This is necessary for our survival. A majority of people are afraid of fire and drowning even though they don’t have any prior bad experiences. This fear dates back to the evolutionary era when our ancestors were endangered by such threats and are called negative bias.

Who doesn’t know a thing about office politics? Everyone tries to be the boss’s blue-eyed boy by flattering them. On the other hand, there are people always gossiping about a person who is not in his good book as good for nothing. Both of these responses are based on In-Group Bias. 

We favour powerful people and ignore the less capable people owing to this behavioural aspect of mind. Clubbing both of them in longer campaigns will create a mass following as every person unconsciously associates to these tactics.

Maintain Executional Congruence

We went through mental shortcuts that humans use on a daily basis, but don’t fancy all of them in your marketing conquests. The marketers shall consciously add these elements as per the product they are pitching and the time frame of the campaign. Many times, pitching too intensely for longer duration ends in great trolls. 

Fact Time: 75% of customers want consistency when engaging with a brand.

I find the execution game very delicate as we are dealing with automatic responses of the human brain. They go unnoticed which leaves us vulnerable to unknown threats since there is no method to measure the outcomes. 

You shall also modify your line of action along with future developments. Aligning the span with engagement plays a crucial role in developing, maintaining, and encashing the public interest. Congruence to the evolving developments in each step streamlines the overall effect and keeps the budget under control.

Stay Unique To Surf The FOMO Waves

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is thriving on all social media. Youngsters these days use Instagram and Twitter everywhere including toilets to dinner dates. Somehow, the overwhelming need to socialize has left us wondering if we are missing something more interesting all the time.

If you create hype and trigger a response from any of the above cognitive biases, there are very high chances of lead generation and conversions. Creating unique and crisp content with limited access to interact with enthrals people like nothing else.

The Conclusion

Like every system, the human brain has its fair share of pitfalls. The cognitive biases are imperative to survival and ensure that we stay focused on the right things. However, the subconscious layers of our brains pay attention to all the things we ignore in day to day life.’

The job of a marketer is to pitch and sell the products through a planned course of action. Hence, adding scientific methods to create compelling pieces of marketing copies and events is essential for feasibility purposes. 

Manipulating the process of information acquisition and processing is a great way to increase visibility and reception. I hope that I covered most concepts in the cognitive sphere of our decision-making. If you want to explore something new with us, do let us know in the comments section. 

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