consumer behavior secrets image resized 600 This is a guest blog post by Jamie Turner, co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and in-demand keynote speaker for events, trade shows, and corporations around the globe.

Are you interested in increasing sales and revenue ? Most people in your position are. Unfortunately, many executives don’t understand the secrets behind why people decide to pick one brand over another. But if you understand how people buy products or services, you can improve the demand for your brand.

SECRET #1: People buy for emotional reasons, then rationalize the purchase with logic.

Do people buy Rolex watches because they’re reliable? Of course not. And while some people may rationalize the purchase of an $80,000 Porsche by talking about the hydro-formed suspension or the pushrod engine technology, the real reason they’re buying the car is because of how it makes them feel. Of course, there are some purchases that are based on logic, but most purchases start with an emotional intent to buy, which brings us to our next point.

SECRET #2: The way into a consumer’s mind is through the right brain.

Recent studies have shown that people must engage with a product before they form an intent to purchase that product. When people engage with a product, the event is stored in short-term memory. But if a fact or event has emotional significance, it shifts from short-term memory to long-term memory. Once it is stored in long-term memory, you’ve taken the first critical step toward building a relationship with a customer , which is one of the secrets to selling more of your products to more customers for more money.

SECRET #3: People lie to researchers.

Well, they don’t intentionally lie. They just say they’re going to do one thing, and then they behave differently. For example, studies have shown that people who want to be perceived as health-conscious will under-report their alcohol consumption in focus groups and surveys. Some of the more recent marketing research techniques are designed to overcome these barriers to truth. But overall, it takes an experienced researcher to draw the proper conclusions from any research.

If you understand consumer behavior, you'll understand how to get more people to buy your product or service.

SECRET #4: As much as 95% of a consumer’s thinking occurs in his or her subconscious mind.

This is why brand design is such a critical component of what you’re selling. What exactly is brand design? It’s all the non-verbal components of your brand, such as graphics, characters, logos, product names, customer interaction, etc. Proper use of brand design helps your consumers feel something about your product -- and helps you tap into the 95% of a consumer’s thought that happens on a subconscious level.

SECRET #5: Consumers don’t think in words.

Brain scans indicate that the neurons in our brain responsible for conscious thought light up before there’s any activity in the parts of our brain that involve verbal language. This, too, supports the idea that people engage with a product based on how they feel, not what they say.

SECRET #6: The better your employees can articulate your company’s position, the better your customers can, too.

Try this exercise – walk down any hallway in your office and ask five different people what your brand stands for. If you’re like most companies, you’ll get five different answers. Why would someone buy a product from a company that its own employees have trouble differentiating? Increasing sales and revenue will be a difficult challenge as long as everyone in your organization can’t articulate what your brand essence and points of differentiation are.

SECRET #7: You must know what your customers are really buying before you can sell it.

If you ask people what they look for in a bookstore, they’ll almost always say good selections and low prices. But if those were the only real criteria, would be the only bookstore. What are you really buying when you go to a bookstore? The experience of buying a book. Do you feel at home while you browse? Can you flip through a couple of books while you curl up on a sofa? Does the coffee smell good? All of those experiences are critical to the success of any bookstore.

When you understand that customers aren’t buying your product as much as they’re buying the experience of your product, you’ve unlocked one of the keys to increasing sales and revenue.

SECRET #8: If you want to increase sales tomorrow, you’ll need to create a dialogue today.

The days of running a commercial on primetime network TV to reach the vast majority of your audience are over. Today, consumers are fragmented over a broad spectrum of media, some of which are virtually advertising-free.

If you want to encourage someone to buy your product, you need to create a dialogue with them over the entire lifecycle of their involvement with your brand. Social media is a terrific way to do this, but you have to understand social media before you can use social media .

SECRET #9: Most consumers would be willing to pay a 20-25% price premium for their favorite brand before they’d switch to a competitor.

Other studies have indicated, if a purchaser is buying an over-the-counter medication for their child or spouse, they’ll almost always buy the name brand. Subconsciously, the buyer believes the national brand works better, even though on a conscious level, they admit that the ingredients are the same.

SECRET #10: The longer a consumer engages with your brand, the more likely they'll be to buy your product or service.

This secret focuses on building a relationship with customers and prospects over time. If you have an inexpensive product, like a pack of gum, it doesn’t take a consumer long to decide on the purchase. But if you have an expensive product, like a car or a house, the time spent deciding on the purchase goes up exponentially.

The Bottom Line: The more you know about consumer behavior, the more likely it is that you'll be able to run a successful marketing campaign . Use these secrets to wrap your mind around the typical consumer and put a program into place that leverages these insights.

Originally published Jul 15, 2011 1:05:00 PM, updated July 28 2017


Decision Making