How Advertising Affects Buying: Transform Your Customer Journey

Polina Zelikova, Aug. 14, 2019Conversion Optimisation
How Advertising Affects Buying: Transform Your Customer Journey

Advertising is a powerful tool that can help businesses directly affect customers’ buying decisions. If you are an entrepreneur looking to effectively influence purchase decisions of your buyer personas, then you might consider applying some of psychology means. Here are 6 techniques to transform customer journey and further explain how advertising affects buying decisions.


Many of you most probably already have heard that advertisements need to appeal to emotions or feelings of people. It is important because people tend to remember the emotions they experience when watching a commercial or seeing an ad, rather than the features of a product that were displayed.

> Plan the emotions

A good technique is to plan the desired emotions that you want to evoke, ahead of creating the ad or commercial. In this manner, you can adjust the ad or commercial, when pilot testing does not yield the desired results.

Set the right tone

It is important to find the right way how you will transmit the message. Will it be presented in an amusing or serious way? This you should decide based on the profile of your buyer personas. Also, make sure you speak the same language as your target audience. Look for the keywords, topics of interest, pages that they visit on the website, comments on social media, etc.



The second important technique is priming. It involves exposing an individual to a pre-set, which will influence the buying decision of an individual at a later stage. In fact, it is an activation of a particular association in our minds before we actually perform an activity. For example, after the word “yellow” you show people two words “sun” or “banana”, automatically these people will identify “banana” faster. This happens because of the connection between the word “banana” and “yellow” which exists in our brains.


There was an experiment during which participants drank wine, and in the background, various kinds of music were played. Although the wine was the same, people described its taste differently according to the melody played (e.g. those who drank wine and listened to Tchaikovsky's ‘Nutcracker’ described the taste as 'subtle and refined', while those who listed to Carmina Burana characterized wine as 'heavy and powerful').

One of the methods to use this method in online marketing is by simply changing the website design to stimulate particular behavior of your audience. For instance, if you are selling washing machines that operate at high speed, but are very energy consuming, you can induce consumers to compare the speed of your washing machine with other products in the market. Therefore, consumers will focus on velocity rather than the price which might eventually increase sales of your brand.


The concept of reciprocity implies that if someone does something nice for you, you are prone to giving something in return too. For instance, as a company you can promote a free trial of a new program, free download of an educational guide or a product sample. Thus, customers will be more willing to stay with you and to make follow up purchases.

how freemium is creating happy customers


Implement a decoy product in your range of offers. The decoy effect biases the consumers’ behavior when they are in the progress of deciding between two options and get presented with a third one, the asymmetrically dominated option. The asymmetrically dominated option inclines the consumers to purchase the product which they perceive has the best value for the price in comparison to the other presented alternatives.

So, how does it work in practice?

iPod touch - decoy effect

An example of Marketing Lessons describes the buying decision process of a consumer looking for an iPod Touch. There are three options.

  1. Option 1 attributes are the cheapest price and lowest storage capacity (16GB);
  2. Option 2 has the doubled storage (32GB), several added features and is $70 more expensive.
  3. Option 3 has the highest storage capacity (64GB), the same features as Option 2 has, but you need to pay extra $100.

Therefore, the majority of customers choose an iPod Touch version with 32GB, thinking they get the best value for the price. The decoy element in this example is Option 1 and 3.

Hence, you can also consider this advertising method to affect the decision of your customers and enhance sales.


No doubt, Ryaniar or another low-cost airline notified you once with a last minute deal for flight tickets at a much lower price. This is called scarcity, a method to create urgency for your clients to purchase a product as soon as possible due to the low supply and high demand. If people feel shortage in an opportunity, it creates a sense of urgency to obtain the product and increases its value. Thereby, customers become more responsive in their behavior.

urgency - scarcity

However, you need to keep in mind one thing. If you want people to take an action and feel the scarcity of your product or service, don't state that only a limited number of products were produced, thus forcing the deficit. Instead, present it in such a way that scarcity occurs due to a high demand (e.g. X amount of Y has been sold, only Z amount of Y is left).


The last technique identifies that people tend to use irrelevant information to assess how much something is worth. It happens because our brain simplifies sophisticated problems to make the decision. That is why people rely on the initial information suggested, called the “anchor”, when they take the decisions. We establish the anchor in our brain and adjust later decisions around the primary information, regardless its authenticity.

comparison pricing example

For instance, a person comes to a store and notices that the book, which would normally cost $40, is now on a sale for $25. The client will be certainly inclined to consider this option. However, if his friend usually purchases books during fairs for $20, he will probably not take this offer.

retail price comparison

You can apply this method in many ways: put a discount near the original cost, show a percentage by which the price is decreased, limit the order identifying that a person can only buy 10 items for this price or use multiple unit pricing (e.g. stating “a person can buy 2 books for the price of 1, rather than there is a 50% discount for each book”).


Are you applying any of these techniques in your advertising? Share your experience and ideas with us in the comments below.

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