Four Ways You Can Influence Consumer Behaviour With Your Next Promotion

Drive consumer motivation by knowing your audience

You’ve done your research and have pinpointed your customers’ needs, but just how much do you know about what’s driving their decision making – and more importantly, how can you influence those decisions?

With consumers becoming increasingly savvy about their investment in brands, it's more important than ever for businesses to develop a scrupulous understanding of their audience and its needs.

From identifying pain points to delivering a solution, marketers should be used to executing consistent, targeted campaigns to ensure effective results. This requires a deeper knowledge of, and empathy with, the brand’s target market.

But what are the driving forces behind each action a customer takes?

We take a closer look at the factors that influence consumer behaviour and how they should influence your promotional marketing strategy.

Factors that influence consumer behaviour

There are four key factors that influence consumer buying behaviour:

  1. Psychological
  2. Personal
  3. Social
  4. Cultural

You can’t control psychological, personal, social and cultural factors. However, you can tap into and exploit the influence each factor has on consumers, to transform your campaign and motivate behaviour.

In developing an in-depth understanding of how these key characteristics can impact on consumer behaviour – specifically that of your target audience – brands will gain an advantage over competitors.

So, let’s explore how your promotional marketing campaign can utilise this knowledge to deliver a successful campaign and influence the behaviour of consumers.

1. Psychological

From the motivations of your consumers to their perception of your brand, psychological influences affect consumers throughout their buying journey – specifically their final purchase decision.

Motivation is the driving force behind purchasing decisions as consumers are actively seeking to satisfy their needs. It encourages impulse buys, ongoing interaction with your brand and makes them more likely to want to learn more about you.

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How do you drive motivation?

Reinforcing the consumer’s need across your promotional activity will ignite their desire to find a solution, and thus supply you with the perfect opportunity to provide one.

Yet before your promotion evokes a valuable reaction from your audience, i.e. engagement with the campaign and your brand, you first need to identify the nature of their need…

Take a step back and look at your overall marketing campaign:

  • How does your product or service aim to fulfil a functional or social need?
  • How are you solving problems with basic and practical solutions?
  • How are you going further to improve the consumer’s sense of belonging?

Pinpointing the answers to these questions will offer insights into how you can best steer your audience to engage with you and to making those all-important buying decisions that boost brand and business.

Campaign tips for functional needs

It's important to remember that individuals with functional needs tend to look for the product or service that provides the most value. This means consumers will be more responsive to campaigns that include mechanics such as BOGOF promotions, which provide them with an opportunity to save money and/or add value to their purchase.

The key word here is value.

Even if you sell high investment products, like washing machines or TVs, you can still implement promotional campaign mechanics to attract and influence customers with functional needs.

Instant wins or cash back promotions are a simple and effective way to bring seriously irresistible value to your product and beat the competition.

For example, throwing in a free Blu-ray player or 3 months free media streaming for lucky winners who buy your TV is relevant to the buyer. It offers great value, and gives you leverage over the next step in their journey.

Campaign tips for social needs

Those with social needs are far more in tune with promotions that satisfy their need to belong. Consumers that fall into this category are far more likely to invest in brands that exhibit identity and ideals that closely resemble their own.

Aligning your brand with a trend or event, that’s relevant to your target audience, is a tried and tested approach to targeting a market with social needs.

Partnering up with an event or practicing ambush marketing would be a great way to influence the actions of buyers with social needs, as it fulfils their intense emotional drive for ‘belongingness’ (Baumeister and Leary) within a favourable social environment.

It could be a travel trend, the latest lifestyle hype, or a global gathering with synergies to your brand. Either way, piggybacking socially relevant events will influence your buyer’s behaviour and boost the visibility of your business in front of a relevant, widespread audience.

Perception influences an individual’s selection, organisation and interpretation of the information they receive from a brand.

Each person will react differently to your promotional marketing campaign. So first impressions are vital. Be sure to research and refine the initial stage of your campaign for optimum engagement levels.

How do you enhance perception?

To ensure your target audience choose to engage with your promotion, implement the following tactics:

    • Consumers are attracted by new or unexpected stimuli. Whether you deliver something completely different to your competitors or apply a unique twist to your brand’s usual marketing activities, deliver the ‘wow factor’ with a creative, innovative campaign.
    • Utilise different touchpoints. TV, radio, online, or in-store – it’s virtually impossible to get away from advertising in today’s world. No wonder consumers find it difficult to retain all the information they are exposed to each day. Introducing several touch points to your promotion gives you the opportunity to be consistently present in the consumer’s mind, thus making interaction more likely.
    • Build a positive brand image. Consumers are influenced by how they and their peers perceive and position your business. Designing a campaign that appeals to the likes and interests of your audience will present your brand in a positive light.

For example, if your audience is interested in health and nutrition, go further than offering them a free hamper of nutritional goodies – instead, give them the chance to win a weekend away to a health and spa resort, with nutritional cooking classes included!

2. Personal

From lifestyle to personality, personal influences change and grow alongside the consumer’s situation, and have a noteworthy impact on the preferences of individuals. 

The lifestyle of a consumer comes with idiosyncrasies such as activities, interests and opinions which, though ambiguous at times, can prove significant in buying decisions.

How do you align with lifestyle?

Incorporating lifestyle factors into your promotion will influence consumer behaviour. Find synergies between your brand and their interests to strengthen your relevance and encourage engagement and loyalty.

If your consumer base is dominated by young families, offering the chance to win a brand new sports car might not be as relevant as an adventure holiday, cash prize, or cinema tickets. 

Understanding your audience’s current situation and creating a link between your brand and their lifestyle, will result in an impactful campaign that resonates and generates meaningful appeal.

When targeting the personalities of consumers, brands should develop their own personality – one that mirrors the values of their audience. This requires an emotional understanding of consumer characteristics and traits.

  • Are they innovative?
  • Are they curious?
  • Do they socialise often?
  • Do they have ambitions?

How do you develop emotional understanding?

If you’re targeting the right audience you’re probably practicing this behaviour already. Remaining relevant to your target audience is a crucial aspect of all marketing activity. Consumers look to brands who resemble and align with their own aspirations.

Design a promotion that assists consumers in reaching their ideal self to encourage engagement and improve the perception they have of your brand. If your target audience has an innovative streak, then using similar mechanics in your promotion will resonate well with them.

The use of gamification gives your brand the opportunity to be unique, and attracts creative consumers, whereas an in-store BOGOF offer might not generate as much of a buzz and could devalue your brand.

Why not ask customers to scan a barcode into a bespoke app or enter a code on your website? You could even promote interactivity with a trivia question about your brand or industry for the chance to win the prize. Incorporating a fun, innovative mechanic into the promotion, will encourage consumers to engage with your brand and you’ll attract the right kind of audience, rather than serial ‘gamers.’

3. Social

Social factors refer to the external biases which typically impose influence on consumer purchase decisions. Peer and reference groups and social status, all fall within this classification.

Reference groups are the people around an individual that influence their behaviour in some way. So understanding the group of people that influence your target consumer can be an integral stage of your promotion.

How do you create social influence?

Within each group there is typically an initiator, an influencer, a decision-maker and the buyer. For brands to effectively grab the attention of the buyer, they should target the initiator or influencers. This way, you establish a role in changing the buying behaviour of reference groups.

Building relationships and creating partnerships with leaders, such as celebrities or industry professionals, will position your brand as relevant. For this strategy to be effective, ensure there are clear synergies between the influencer and the brand, as well as the influencer and the consumer.

Think carefully about involving celebrities, as it could impact your campaign budget. You may want to approach this as you would an ambush marketing campaign – with a quick burst of captivating, purposeful activity that doesn’t cost the world, but lives long in the memory.

Social status is a significant influence on buyer behaviour, especially consumer loyalty and preference to brands. The brands that consumers associate themselves with tend to reflect them as an individual in that they share similar values or traits.

How do you exploit social status?

You need to identify what your target audience is trying to portray socially, to help design a campaign that is going to be more appealing to them. By mirroring your consumers’ social position you encourage them to share and promote your campaign with their friends, family and community.

Social status influences every consumer. While CEOs might be interested in winning a luxury, all expenses paid holiday to reflect their social success, interns could be more interested in promotions that offer up and coming, trendy prizes such as free tickets to live events or experience days.

4. Cultural

Cultural factors include social class and subculture – factors which have a significant influence over the values and decision process of consumers. Whether it's their family, friends or environment, an individual’s cultural surroundings play an important role in their buying behaviour.

Each market will have different cultural preferences. So it is important that you have a breadth of knowledge on your markets’ and the impact this has on their opinions and behaviours. This will help you adapt a marketing strategy, or specific promotional campaign, to meet and exceed expectations of consumers.

Consider the social class of your consumer – do they have money to spare or are they focused on finding the best price? In general, all of today’s consumers are savvy, but understanding their social position will help cater a campaign to their needs.

How do you interpret culture?

Those with a lower income might prefer BOGOF product promotions. However, other social demographics could be more attracted to campaigns that offer additional features or social benefits, such as free cinema tickets to the latest 4DX screening of their favourite film. Consumer buying behaviour is ultimately shaped by the desire to conform and fit in with the latest cultural movements.

How do you become culturally relevant?

  • Position your brand as a cultural role model

While social trends are important, they can often be short lived and somewhat fad-like. Cultural trends, however, tend to be more deep-rooted.

Familiarise yourself with the subculture which is defining your target audience. From music and vocabulary, to the way in which you communicate your campaign, keep every aspect of your campaign relatable to influence consumers.

Ensure you have a clear understanding before drawing upon a culture for influence to avoid any faux pas. Who are your audience? What do they want? Where do they hang out, and what do they respond to?

Having access to this information gives you a solid platform from which you can create an effective, targeted campaign. Focus on introducing several diverse touch points to promote your campaign and ensure visibility across different platforms to improve reach.

If you’re running an in-store product promotion, consider how you can make consumers aware of it before they see it in store – whether it is social media, email marketing or a TV advert.

For example – if you’re targeting the younger generations – creating a Snapchat filter to go alongside your brand and promotion is a great way to get in front of your target audience. With 72% of millennials using Snapchat in 2016 (Business Insider), this presents a genuine opportunity to improve the relevance of your promotion and encourage social sharing.

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  • Make it innovative but be sure to stay relevant

While Snapchat might be the perfect platform to attract and interact with young audiences, if you’re targeting 55+ year olds, you might be faced with a very different outcome.

Yes, social media can be considered a fully integrated part of today’s society, but culture cannot be generalised. Don’t assume that just because something is popular that everyone will get on board.

Understanding your audience and identifying their cultural influences, will help drive innovation behind your campaigns. If data shows that consumers visit your site or make purchases via their mobile, then incorporate a mobile specific element into your promotion to influence the buying behaviour of your consumers.

Get to know your audience

Each of these factors highlight the multiple ways you can influence buying behaviours. Ultimately it comes down to the level of understanding you have about your consumer and how you adapt your campaign in line with this knowledge.

The more you know about your audience, the more relevance you can add to your promotional marketing campaign, thus ensuring you intensely appeal to your target customers.

Designing a campaign that utilises the psychological, personal, social and cultural influences of your key consumers will undoubtedly enhance your promotion and inspire positive consumer behaviour.

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