Marketing Psychology

Understand the psychology of selling. Study consumer behaviour and think how your customer thinks. Discover how to raise visibility and succeed at marketing.

Course CodeBPS107
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Getting their attention is the starting point -and you need to be noticed if there is ever any chance of that happening.
Did you Know?

In retailing (at least), shoppers can be categorised into the following four groups:

1. Economic Shoppers: Most interested in prices, value, product quality & economic factors. Not so interested in treatment by staff, decor of the store, location etc.

2. Personalising Shoppers: Enjoy the interaction with sales staff, preferring to shop with sales staff they know & like.

3. Ethical Shoppers: Avoid large chain stores or companies that tend towards monopolies or deal with products which are judged unethical. Don't shop at big supermarkets because "they are putting the small man out of business" Prefer to buy food from the biodynamic shop because it hasn't been treated with chemicals... etc

4. Apathetic Shoppers: Don't like shopping, and go to the most convenient supplier.

Through an understanding of things such as this, a sales or marketing person is able to better manage their marketing effort, and conduct their work in a more efficient and appropriate way. This is just one of many aspects to this course.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. People as Consumers
    • Scope and nature of marketing
    • Reasons for marketing
    • Types of customers: loyal, discount, needs based, wandering, impulse
    • Economic, economic, personal, apathetic shoppers
    • Understanding reward options: rational, sensory, social, ego satisfaction
    • Influence on customers
    • Physical factors
    • Consumer problems
    • Attitudes
    • Beliefs
    • Affects
    • Behavioural intention
  2. Market Segmentation
    • Geographic
    • Demographic
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Socio-economic
    • Geo-demographic
    • Psychological segmentation
    • Segmentation by usage
    • Segmentation by benefit
    • Global segmentation
    • Entry into foreign markets
    • Total Product concept
    • Personal influences
    • Diffusion of new products
  3. Internal Influences Perception & Personality
    • The senses: vision, hearing and smell.
    • Multi sensual marketing
    • Thresholds of awareness
    • Sensory adaptation
    • Attention
    • Selective perception
    • Perceptual distortion
    • Perceptual cues
    • Gestalt psychology
    • The Phi phenomenon
    • Subliminal perception
    • Product image and self image
    • Personality theory and application to marketing
    • The MMPI
    • The TATT
    • The Rorschach Ink Blot Test
    • Non Freudean and Freudean theories
    • Self theory
    • Self image marketing
    • Trait theory
    • Brand personality
    • Relationship segmentation
  4. Internal Influences -Motivation and Awareness
    • Learning
    • Behavioural approach
    • Classical conditioning
    • Operant conditioning
    • Cognitive approach
    • Memory and marketing
    • Modelling
    • Motivation
    • Maslow's hierarchy of needs
    • Different motivations
    • Inertia
    • Involvement
    • Antecedents of involvement
    • Properties of involvement
    • Outcomes of involvement
    • Specific needs
    • Unconscious motivation
    • Creating needs
    • Semiotics
  5. Social Influences
    • Understanding society
    • Family influences
    • Family changes
    • Family life cycle
    • Households
    • Socialisation
    • Institutional affects
    • Consumer socialisation
    • Family consumer decisions
    • Roles
    • Conflict resolution
    • Changing roles
    • Social and developmental influences
    • Influences on children
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Small groups, Formal and informal groups
    • Membership and reference groups
    • Reference groups and consumer behaviour
    • Variability of products
    • Differences in consumer susceptibility
    • Influence of social class
    • Inheritance
    • Measuring class, class categories and changing class
    • Marketing and Consumer behaviour
    • Cultural influences, communication, ideals and actualities
    • Differences in culture: sub cultures, ethnicity, changes in culture
  6. Consumerism
    • Why study the consumer
    • What is a consumer
    • History of consumerism
    • Changes in consumer experience
    • The supplier
    • Business ethics
    • International ethics
    • The market place
    • Consumer action
    • False and deceptive advertising
    • Methods of false advertising misrepresentation, insufficient details, price based methods etc.
  7. Communication and Persuasion
    • Attitudes and the concept of attitude to how attitudes form
    • How attitudes are changed
    • Practical applications for marketing
    • Message evaluation and selection
    • Message execution
    • Celebrity testimonials
    • What words sell
  8. Deciding to Buy
    • Making a decision
    • Rational decisions
    • Heuristic Procedures
    • The decision making process -step by step
    • Merchandising
    • Trend toward home shopping

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify categories of shoppers.
  • Describe the key concepts of Market Segmentation
  • Determine the role of perception and personality in the marketing process
  • Determine the factors that motivate a consumer toward a purchase.
  • Define how social factors influence a consumers behaviour
  • Discuss consumerism in the context of marketing.
  • Determine the factors that influence consumer attitude and marketing communication and persuasion.
  • Apply the concept of multi - element buying decisions.



Understanding how people think about what they buy is extremely valuable information; but as with any information; it is only useful when it is used properly.

Whilst some elements of psychological theories have been applied to marketing to good effect, this has not always been the case. The application of behavioural theories and market research as espoused by JB Watson is one of the better uses.  

Biofeedback measures have also been used to try and establish associations between arousal levels and the marketing of products. This may involve a research participant wearing a GSR (galvanic skin response) device on their finger which records increases in perspiration. As such, marketing materials which create a greater response may be singled out and used more extensively. 

In recent years there has been increased interest in 'neuromarketing'. This generally involves asking research participants to review various products, advertisements, and related marketing paraphernalia whilst undergoing an MRI scan. The areas of the brain which show stimulation are then correlated with the material to look for patterns of stimulation. This field of enquiry is likely to see a lot more exploration as time goes on.   

Although the link between consumer's buying behaviour and the marketing of products is not as clear cut as many in the field would like to think, it is clear that some types of marketing do have an effect. For instance, product placement in television dramas would seem to influence young people more than older people, if only because they use their observations in social discourses which help to form their sense of identity.   

Despite some products and advertising campaigns failing badly, there are many examples of others which worked with great impact, and so the desire to find new ways to tap into people's needs and wants will always be there.  

Take the first step toward being better in Marketing, Sales or Public Relations.

Learn to understand the customer. 

  • Do you understand target markets, consumer behaviour, gathering data, and ways to market goods or services in different types of selling environments.

  • Everyone may be an individual; but groups of people also share common characteristics. Recognise this, discover the things that will get the attention of a particular group, and you are then half way toward successful marketing

Where this Course Can Lead?

Graduates will have an enhanced understanding of the way a potential customer thinks.
They will understand the things that cause a person to consider one product or service rather than other options.
They will know the triggers that cause a customer to make a decision to buy, and then act on that decision.

This knowledge is rarer than you might think in the world of business; but properly learned and applied; it makes all the difference between success and failure -between selling and not selling.


Learn these things and you will be far better equipped to:

  • Make a success of your own business
  • Write more effective advertising copy
  • Work in any job in sales or marketing
  • Work in PR
  • Work as a business coach or consultant
  • Help people who have developed financial problems through excessive spending
  • Undertake further studies in Business or Marketing






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Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
Sarah Edwards

Over 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia and the UK.
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