7 Remarkable Ways To Dramatically Improve Experiential Marketing Using The Power of Psychology

Updated: Jul 6, 2019

Experiential marketing and activations are focussed on building multi-layered as well as multi- sensory experiences between brands and their target consumers in such a way that will build a positive relationship. The goal remains to maximize the life time value of the customer, and through profitability, the value of the firm as well. To achieve this aim, experience and experiential marketing practitioners have tapped into specialist knowledge from a range of disciplines. One of these disciplines offering new thinking is psychology; the field concerned with the science of behaviour and mind, including conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought.




There exists a rich body of literature on how Psychology can be used to understand consumer behaviour and more specifically persuasive consumer targeted communications. Here are 7 true and tested Psychological Principles of Persuasive Platforms, which Experiential Marketers should consider when planning their next campaigns:


The Endowed Progress Effect

Reported by Nunes and Dreze (2006), the Endowed Progress Effect Theory suggests that when people feel they have made some progress towards a goal then they will become more committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal.



They exhibit greater persistence towards reaching the stated goal. By incentivising users to take the first step towards engaging with your brand or campaign such as offering discounts, or trial samples or free information, the customer is more likely to complete a task and move along the engagement funnel. A good example of how this is used is the simple frequent purchase incentive programme used by coffee shops, bookshops and even car washes. The visual aid that is offered usually in the form of a purchase card shows the effort that has been made to date and how far the customer still has to go to obtain a reward. This underlying psychological premise can be used to drive customer journeys across various touch points including live activations.



Sunk-cost Fallacy

In their 1985 paper “The Psychology of Sunk Cost”, Arkes and Blumer used a number of experimental examples where they gave participants various pairs of questions to answer, to show that humans have a tendency to continue down a path or endeavour once an investment in time, effort or money has been made.



There follows a general reluctance, largely driven by the fear of admitting to a waste, to discontinue the activity once they feel that an effort has been made. Experience and engagement marketers may endeavour to ensure that they design an initial investment ritual into the customer journey process even before the final sales closure. This sunk cost element needs to be signposted at an emotional level to the customer. An example might be through the use of a celebratory welcome notes or announcements or the triggering of a ‘rite of passage’ in the manner in which the customer is dealt with going forward.