How to Become a Marketing Psychologist

What is a Marketing Psychologist?

A marketing psychologist is someone who studies what attracts people to a product or service. A marketing psychologist is an important person to those companies, government agencies and businesses whose roles depends a lot on product purchase. This particular branch of psychology is classified as industrial-organizational psychology. One focus here is usually those parameters that spur productivity; ranging from employee morale to efficiency in production.

Another feature that cannot be ignored by the marketing psychologist is the decision making process as undertaken by the consumer. Here, the factors that influence the customer to make a given kind of purchase at a particular place all have to be well looked into.

Of course the influences that marketing campaigns as well as culture have on consumer trends all have to be looked at. If the professional knows the factors that come at play in making purchase choices, he can be better placed to know how best to target a specific group of consumers.

What is the Psychologist’s Perception of Marketing?

Marketing is a distinct field from psychology, yet much of what marketers attempt to do to promote their products relies on basic psychological principles, among them, perception. By examining the way in which consumers perceive a product or service, marketers are better equipped to devise their marketing strategies in order to encourage consumers to purchase the product or service in question.

Perception in marketing is much more than what people think about a product; it involves how someone feels about it as well. Psychologists examine a variety of factors that influence consumers’ thoughts and feelings – the packaging of the product, the design of the product itself, the marketing strategies used to promote the product, and even the environment in which marketing occurs.

For example, psychologists that work in marketing understand that it’s natural for people to crave a snack in the late afternoon when they’re hungry. Using this information, they devise marketing campaigns for snack foods that air on TV, radio, and other mediums during that time of day in order to capitalize on human nature. Seeing an advertisement for food when one is hungry alters one’s perception of the product being marketing. Thus, the chances of purchasing that item are far greater. So while perception is a psychological topic of study, is utilized to drive marketing campaigns.

There are some issues concerning the way in which marketing is perceived, however. Some psychologists, for example, are concerned about the negative messages that girls receive from advertisements about what it means to be pretty. Other psychologists worry that the psychological power of marketing, on some level, exerts too much control and influence over human behavior as well.

What Does a Marketing Psychologist Do?

Marketing psychologists study consumers and how various factors such as age, education, and personal habits lead them to purchase certain items. In addition to people, they study how various products are viewed by consumers such as the packaging, color, and pricing, all of which can affect someone’s decision to make a purchase. They are then able to determine the best way to present a specific product or service to that consumer in order to increase the chances of conversion (the consumer making a purchase).

Various factors affect consumers and what they purchase. Location for instance is a big factor. People who live in warmer climates are less likely to buy sweaters while people in colder climates are less likely to buy sandals. This is an obvious factor, but what about others? Things such as age, gender, education, and personal habits can all contribute to a person’s buying decision. A marketing psychologist is able to figure out all these factors when evaluating a product or service.

How a product is presented to a consumer can have a big effect on sales, which is why merchandising is an important part of marketing psychology. For instance, running advertisements for supermarkets is more likely to convert if done in local newspapers. Running commercials for a supermarket when the place is closed will be a waste of marketing dollars. Inside of a store, a marketing psychologist can recommend the best way to display a product such as the location of a display and how the display is organized. Targeting customers in specific areas of a store can be key to conversion.

Once a marketing psychologist has all the information needed, they can recommend the best type of marketing campaigns that will likely lead to conversion. For instance, they may recommend marketing a product through an infomercial as opposed to running billboard ads or even recommend re-branding of a product in order to grab the attention of people looking for such a product. In the end, a marketing psychologist is able to use information they obtain about a product/service and consumer in order to develop a plan to best marketing that product or service to the consumer.

What are the Important Factors that a Marketing Psychologist Considers?

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Socio-economic status
  • Level of education
  • Geographical location
  • Gender
  • Tastes and preferences

These are some of the core areas that a marketing psychologist looks at to come up with a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Where Does a Marketing Psychologist Work?

A marketing psychologist generally work in the following settings:

  • Marketing consultancy firms
  • Advertising agencies
  • In colleges and universities
  • In companies and industries that are consumer driven
  • Independent practice

What are the Education Requirements to Become a Marketing Psychologist?

Usually, a bachelor’s degree is enough to start working in marketing departments and agencies. This of course is with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. However for a serious career in marketing psychology, it is really important to have a graduate degree. To gain entry into a graduate school, a psychology degree would be of immense benefit. In some institutions, it is possible to get a marketing psychology minor, which may include coursework in probability and statistical studies.

For those who wish to go ahead for master’s study, they might find great opportunities in industrial-organizational settings. In some of the post-graduate programs, focus is laid on the disciplines of social psychology and even industrial psychology. Of course the emphasis is also laid on marketing psychology.

Other schools on the other hand offer social and marketing psychology specifically. Some people also go for the option of an MBA degree. This of course would mean that the person learns a great deal about human behavior.

The factor to bear in mind is that when one takes more psychology courses, the person benefits from a larger knowledge. Also, the person might wish to choose specializations that come with graduate programs that will further the goals in terms of a career as a marketing psychologist. There are several specializations that are offered with such graduate programs.

The courses that one needs not ignore include branding, market research, customer awareness creation and public policy as may affect the goals of marketing psychology.

Depending on the aspirations of the marketing psychologist, one might wish to go ahead to do Ph.D. studies. Usually, the person interested in the research angle of marketing psychology and consultancy practice will find that they will handle their careers better when they have a PhD. A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is another option. Due to the intensive research carried out in this line of education, one needs to have completed a dissertation report and supervised internship plus an examination.

The PsyD is more demanding and needs one to have done lots of exams and to have clinical experience.

Consequently, one can go for a PhD study in marketing. Often, this can be found in business school and will focus a lot on economics, research methodologies and marketing. Those who graduate successfully from such a setting will be more geared towards research work and academics.

The American Board of Professional Psychology offers various levels of certifications for these persons based of course on the manner in which they meet the set requirements.

What is the Job Outlook for Marketing Psychologists?

As with the professions concerned with other psychologists, this field is set to be highly in demanding in the coming years. With realization of the business potential posed by such strategies in business as marketing research, there will be need for their expertise in several consumer driven ventures

What is the Salary of a Marketing Psychologist?

The US Bureau for Labor Statistics puts the mean annual salary of the industrial-organizational psychologist at $87, 330. Of course the higher the education level reached the more one earns. Factors like state worked in and experience in the field are also influential in the income earned.

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