How To Influence Consumer Decisions

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There is science to consumer persuation and you can use it to your advantage in order to grow your business. Many companies nowadays are using tactics to make people buy their products, but what is behind all of this persuation and promotion?


  • Consumer behaviour is the study that explains what influences people and companies to purchase certain producsts, services and continiously support brands.
  • Reciprocity, Commitment, Pack Mentality, Authority, Liking and Scarcity are the 6 principle of persuation.
  • Advertising campaigns influence consumer behaviours when they relate to a certain audience because they replicate emotions from everyday life in order to produce relatable marketing

This article is for students and people who are interested in entrepreneurship and want to improve your ability to sell and develop meaninful business relationships.

How can you make someone buy your product or service? As people, the psychological behaviours of our brains influence our decision making process and marketing companies and teams have whole departments to build campaigns to influence these behaviours.

On the other hand, consumers are skeptical of businesses who’s whole purpose is to sell you a product.

When we go back to old movies such as “The Wolf of Wallstreet”, there was a scene where Leanardo Di Caprio was making a brokerage firm to start selling Penny Stocks to people even though they are risky, Di Caprio had a powerful business case and in that scene, you can see how at first, they didn’t believe in his vision, but after showing them an example, they were on board – this is called “The Art of Persuation”, but what exactly is consumer behaviour?

What is consumer behaviour?

Consumer behaviour refers to the study of how individuals and organizations are made to purchase certain products and services while undoubtedly trusting brands. This area of study focuses on behaviour, psychology and people’s thinking.

How can marketing benefit from from consumer behaviour decision-making?

Marketing can affect consumer behaviour and decisions by creating a need or desire for a product. It can also influence how people view a product or brand, which can lead to them making a purchase decision. Marketing can also be used to persuade people to buy something they may not have originally intended to buy.

Emotional response: The main reason why Fortune 500 companies continue to succeed is because they connect with consumer on a personal level by creating adverts including emotions from everyday’s life in order to get a reaction from consumers. One great example of this is John Lewis.

Brand imagery and messaging: Using relatable imagery creates an opportunity for brands to attract attention from different audiences. For example, if you are looking to target younger people, you may use current popular phrases and emotions which will relate to the younger generation. This creates an interaction with your audience to engage with your brand.

Action-based marketing: Another famous way of attracting customers to buy from brands is by fear. Pharmaceutical companies in the United States create adverts that make their audience fearful of catching a disease and while this tactic can create negative image for businesses, they are still successful in gaining short-term revenue from an advert.

What are the current consumer behavioural trends?

When you know what drives people at the moment, it’s easier for you to influence consiumer behaviour with current trends. As more businesses evolve, one of the main reasons why some fail is because they don’t adapt to the current environment while others focus on evolving and targeting new audiences such as the younger generations. By continiously looking out for trends, businesses are able to succeed in today’s environment, but what are the current 2022 trends that you can focus on.


Over the last few years, there has been a big demand for businesses to be more personal and relatable to audiences. Consumers nowadauys are looking to connect with a brand rather than be one-time buyers. One of the greatest examples of brands that connects with people is Apple with their ecosystem, fast performance and great customer service.


The term e-Commerce stands for “online store”, and many brands have adapted a business model that allows them to sell online which makes their audience more connected to their brand by promoting the convenience of buying a product online. It’s a win-win for brands and consumers, because companies can save on renting a store and consumers can get their products quickly and efficiently. When creating strategies to influence customers behaviour, brainstorm ways to influence customers both in person and online.

Social Issues

In the past decade, companies have focused on issues that are not talked about on the news. For example, the need for men to better their mental health. There are plenty of companies that focus on creating a safe-space for men to share what they are going through. By focusing on social issues, you can relate to your audience on a personal level and we can already see companies such as Nike who have started to promote mental health.

Key takeaway: Consumers expect brands to connect with them more on a personal level and continue to maintain and improve their products and services making companies competitive and focused on consumer engagement.

What are the 6 principles of influencing people?

Robert Cialdini published his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” in 1984 which explored the factors affecting decision making in consumers. Cialdini has identified six core principles that affect these decision making behaviours, particularly in relation to purchasing and consumption decision.

  1. Reciprocity: People’s thinking is to return favors and replicate kind gestures. This strategy is vastly used when offering a free sample or a big discount by brands.
  2. Commitment: When a customer is fully engaged with a product, they are more likely to purchase from the same brand again. In business, this is called brand loyalty and businesses call it “consumer loyalty”. Many of them are using strategies on retaining people who have already engaged with their brand.
  3. Consensus: Replicating behaviours from everyday life and it goes back down to relatability. For example, if more people are interested in a product, others are more likely to relate and like it too, which prompts them to buy it.
  4. Authority: Consumers are more likely to purchase from an expert rather than anyone. When brands demonstrate their popularity, they utilize the use of testimonials from experts because it validates the quality of the product or service to everyone else.
  5. Liking: Facebook does this best with their Lookalike Audiences. This is when companies target people who are similar to an already existing audience, creating a platform for growth. This could be demographics, likings, ethnicity, cultural similarities and everyday behaviours. These strategies are far more effective at persuading consumers that the ones who are different from each other.
  6. Scarcity: People tend to be attracted to what they cannot have. Making a product exclusive or having a personalized offer if they don’t act quickly, this creates a FOMO effect (Fear of Missing Out) and people are more likely to buy.


Businesses continuing to use the six principles of persuasion can adapt their potential consumers and convert more in order to build a bigger audience and increase revenues. Although, the six principles are effective in influencing decision-making behaviours, there is a fine line between using marketing practices & manipulation. Cialdini shared a call out for businesses to carefully review their practices as it could lead to negative impact.

Consumers need to explore more options when purchasing a product and think about their needs in order to make the right decision. We can all focus on factors affecting our lives and relate to brands, however making a decision on what product to buy without getting influenced by brands is vital.





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Dylan Timoff