The Psychology of Persuasion: Understanding Customer Behavior in Marketing

Customer behavior and the study of why people make the purchase decisions that they do can be a complicated landscape to navigate in marketing.

The psychological tool of persuasion and the use of established persuasion techniques can help cut through the nuance of customer behavior to influence purchase decisions. That influence shapes customer behavior by helping them form useful mental shortcuts during the buying process.

The Unified Theory of Pricing

BCG has developed a unified pricing theory, manifested in a tool they call the Strategic Pricing Hexagon, by bringing all the disparate pricing ideas, and the drivers and forces behind them, into one master structure. This article shows how the Strategic Pricing Hexagon allows leaders to look beyond the numbers and develop a pricing strategy that can change the entire trajectory of their business and … [ Read more ]

Hyper-Personalization for Customer Engagement with Artificial Intelligence

Personalization based on customer attributes and behavior is a familiar concept among marketers, and artificial intelligence is making it increasingly effective. AI-based hyper-personalization employs both sophisticated methods and far more data than previous methods and is far more precise as a result. Thomas H. Davenport discusses the role of AI in personalization as well as the growing backlash against personalization fueled by data privacy concerns. … [ Read more ]

Chip Heath

It turns out that our brains are wired to critique situations. And so if we’ve got a global economic downturn and the salesforce has really been hit hard by this, we’ll tend to focus on the people that are doing the worst and try to coach them and help them out. What we don’t often do is look at the best people and steal their … [ Read more ]

Unlock the Power of Money Words: How Founders Can Write Copy That Converts

The words we use — or don’t use — impact decisions and, in turn, money. Money words are the execution arm of persuasion. If we can agree that the words we choose are persuasive levers — and our job is to pull those levers intentionally and strategically — then allow me to share with you two money words and one lose-money word. They are the … [ Read more ]

Kenneth Arrow

Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust.

David Ratajczak, Mario Simon, Leonardo Fascione, Emily Kruger, Chris Murphy, Alex Almeida

Reducing investments in brand marketing during downturns backfires in many ways. Such budget cuts are sound bites that may play well on earnings calls, but their effectiveness is dubious at best—and destructive at worst. CMOs and CFOs should instead see times of economic uncertainty as a marketing and sales opportunity to double down on the right customers, gain share, enhance the value of their customer … [ Read more ]

Stop Losing Sales to Customer Indecision

For decades, salespeople have been taught that there is only one possible reason for lost sales: that salespeople have failed to defeat the customer’s status quo. Perhaps the customer doesn’t fully appreciate the problem that their solution is designed to solve. Or maybe they don’t yet see enough daylight between their company’s solution and that of the competition. So, salespeople break out their arsenal of … [ Read more ]

Don’t Cut Your Brand-Marketing Budget. Rethink It.

Brand marketing is an easy target when CMOs face pressure to shrink budgets in times of uncertainty. CMOs often struggle to resist such cuts because most companies lack an unequivocal answer to this long-lingering question: Can brand-marketing spending be dialed down as needed to shore up financials, or is it an essential, always-on investment that must be safeguarded to avoid devastating long-term impacts on the … [ Read more ]

The Four-Letter Code To Selling Just About Anything

When Raymond Loewy arrived in Manhattan, U.S. companies did not yet worship at the altars of style and elegance. That era’s capitalists were monotheistic: Efficiency was their only god. American factories—with their electricity, assembly lines, and scientifically calibrated workflow—produced an unprecedented supply of cheap goods by the 1920s, and it became clear that factories could make more than consumers naturally wanted. To sell more stuff, … [ Read more ]

Matt Lerner

What seems like a simple purchase decision sits within a larger context in the customers’ lives. And as marketers, that context is critical, because the words in their heads will reflect their situation rather than your product. Therefore, the better we understand that context, the more effective our product and marketing teams will be.

Matt Lerner

What’s in your prospects’ heads? If you could stop people in the middle of their day and snapshot-read their minds, what would you find? You would not find a list of product features or marketing platitudes. You would see anxieties, fears, doubts, hopes, dreams and struggles. Therefore the best way to get past the attention filter is to talk about the stuff that is in … [ Read more ]

3 Lessons from Hyperinflationary Periods

Inflation is painful, for firms, customers, employees, and society. But careful study of periods of “hyperinflation” point to ways that firms can adapt. In particular, companies need to think about how to change prices regularly and cheaply — because constant price changes can ultimately be very, very expensive. And they should consider how to communicate those price changes to customers. Providing clarity and predictability can … [ Read more ]

Designing Omni-Channel Retailing to Align Financial Performance with Strategy

Sunil Chopra describes how looking at combinations of product and channel through the lens of return on invested capital (ROIC) allows retailers to design omni-channel portfolios that align their products, service offerings, and pricing. By using each channel to improve invested capital turns or broaden profit margin, these portfolios increase the company’s value. 

James Surowiecki, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

What we are witnessing, they contend, is the advent of an economy in which data matters far more than capital, a change that represents “a fundamental reorganization of our economy.”


Up to this point, we’ve used price as the key determinant of how resources are allocated — what we make, how much of it we make, what we invest in, and so on. We’ve done this … [ Read more ]

Five Serious Content Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Done well, content marketing helps businesses build brand awareness, increase visibility, and generate more leads—ultimately driving sales and growth. Yet, many businesses struggle with their content marketing.