In the task of creative effective advertising and marketing concepts, it is crucial to understand the psychology of how people make “purchase” decisions. True, in our field we are not selling a product per se, but we are asking people to “buy in” to what we’re offering. The psychology of buying in can be broken down into two areas: The level of the person’s involvement in the choice – high involvement versus low involvement – which is a reflection of how important the issue is (or how large the purchase), and what part of the psyche is involved in making the choice – is it primarily rational or emotional?
For most people, making a lifestyle decision is a high involvement decision. Whether it is rational or emotional varies with the nature each person. But presenting programs and services as high involvement choices can often make them seem daunting and unattractive. Sometimes it is beneficial to lighten things up in order soften the high involvement aspect of the choice and make it less intimidating, and therefore more accessible.
Engaging in this type of analysis gives us a better understanding of our target audience, and enables us to determine what kind of marketing strategy will be effective, and what types of ads will work.
We start by asking, what is going to get the target audience to “buy in”?
Is it high or low involvement? Is it rational or emotional?
High Involvement Decisions
Expensive purchases, such as financial services and products, the purchase of a home or car, as well as major appliances and electronics, are high involvement, as are major life decisions such as where to live or who to marry. Whether these choices are emotional or rational depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of the person, the culture, and how much purchasing power the person has. It also depends upon whether the choice is mere utilitarian in nature, in which case it will be more rational, or if it an expression of one’s status or ego, in which case it will be more emotional.
In general, the primary high involvement decision tends to be rational, while the fringe elements of it, such as its color or decor, tend to be emotional.
When appealing to a high impact + rational scenario, the advertising should clearly explain the features and benefits of the product, program or service being offered. Even the main element of the ad should be a slogan or phrase that expresses the positioning of your product vis-a-vis the alternatives. The goal is to demonstrate that this is clearly a smart decision and give the audience a sense of confidence that they are making the right choice.
When appealing to high-impact + emotional, visual and emotional appeals will be more effective. The goal is to create an ambiance and vibe associated with your product.
Advertising in this category tends to focus on visual details, textures and other elements that are and emotionally appealing.
Low Involvement Decisions
Low involvement + rational decision tend to be things that are done out of habit. Sometimes the challenge is to appeal to people’s habits and offer them something better, and sometimes the goal is to make them rethink their habits.
The typical role for advertising for low involvement + rational cases is to get people to sample or switch – to break the automatic habit of selecting the alternatives. Incentives tend to be effective, as long as they don’t cheapen your brand. It is also important to differentiate or re-position your product.
Low involvement + emotional decisions are usually reserved to things that provide instant emotional or sensual (and fleeting) gratification, such as entertainment or food. Because the benefits are short-lived, not much thought is invested in making the decision.
The advertising challenge for low involvement + emotional campaigns is to communicate the benefit.
MARKETING 101 is a monthly column that explores various marketing theories and issues as they apply to Chabad.