Marketing has always been about psychology. The entire point of marketing is to influence how a customer behaves. What better way to achieve your marketing goals than with a little understanding of psychology?

For the purpose of today’s article, we’re going to cover the first three key psychological principles listed in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s popular book released in 1984, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.


Reciprocity is the principle that humans feel the need to reciprocate – meaning that when something is given, we want to give back.

Sensei Marketing found an interesting statistic within Influence. In it, Cialdini delves into a case study where involving the correlation between a waiter’s tips and mints left with the bill. The study found that the waiter’s tips went up by 3% when a single mint was left. Tips went up 14% for two mints. Finally, customers tipped 23% higher when the waiter would leave one mint, and then quickly return to offer a second mint.

One of the most common ways that stores utilize reciprocity is through sample marketing. To read more on why sample marketing is so effective, check out this article I wrote a few weeks ago.

Commitment and Consistency

Commitment and consistency is the idea that people make decisions based on prior “commitments” that they’ve already made. When applied to marketing, this concept can extend to any action where a customer has signed up or committed to something. This could be a subscription, participation in a contest, or even just a social media post that they’ve made.

Strategy Insight discusses a specific tactic covered in Cialdini’s book. In this scenario, a parent promises to buy their child a popular toy during the holiday season. However, when they go to purchase the toy at the store, they see that it’s all sold out. They simply can’t find the toy anywhere, and end up buying another toy instead.

The child is disappointed, but remembers the commitment that the parent made. When January rolls around, and the hot toy is miraculously back in stock, the parent ends up buying the toy because of the prior commitment that they made – because the parent needs to demonstrate that they’re consistent.

Social Proof

People want what’s popular – even if what’s popular isn’t something they’d normally really care about in the first place. If you’ve ever been out with a group of people looking for a restaurant or bar to patronize, you’re probably familiar with this concept. More often than not, the group is going to end up gravitating somewhere with a lot of people. Not because they know it’s going to be good, but because there’s so many people there… It has to be good! Right?

There are all kinds of social proof to use in marketing. Reviews, testimonials, and even showing off how many followers your social media page can demonstrate the social value of your brand. One of the most powerful forms of social proof takes place on social media. According to a study from Market Force, which you can read about over at Forbes, 81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts when making purchasing decisions.

Market With CoGoBuzz

With CoGoBuzz, our state-of-the-art marketing service, we’ll leverage advanced WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions to promote your business both in-store and out.

With in-store WiFi, we display an interactive landing page on your customers’ mobile devices, letting you show off your sales, testimonials, samples that you’re featuring, events, and more! With our SMS solution, you can enroll customers in digital loyalty programs, and start getting them committed and consistent with your brand! On top of that, we produce fully realized customer profiles for every customer that login in to your HotSpot, and automatically integrate them with your Marketing List of choice, such as HubSpot, MailChimp, or Constant Contact.

Check out the rest of our website to learn more! Also, don’t forget to check back next week for Part 2! We’ll be covering the principles of Authority, Liking, and Scarcity.

What psychology tricks have you used to improve your marketing? Let us know in the comments!