Human Biases Marketers can exploit

Human Biases which you can exploit as a Marketer

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People are not perfect. In this world of increased competition and decreasing product differentiation, every advantage counts. As a marketer, exploiting the inherent weaknesses in humans can play a huge role in the profitability and success of your company, especially in the B2C category. We list out some human biases which you can use and greatly benefit from. 

Affect Heuristic

When people want to make decisions quickly, they often rely on their “gut” feelings or emotions. This mental shortcut gives them a false sense of belief that their decisions are based on sound reasoning. For example, the word “mother” often invokes a sense of love and care, while “cancer” often provokes a sense of dread. 

How Marketers can use them:

These feelings can be brought forth in the minds of consumers before they make a choice of purchasing an item. Invoking a good mood will make them more likely to perceive a purchase positively. Such emotions significantly influence the decision-making abilities and perception of risk in the minds of consumers.


Anchoring refers to the initial suggestion or “anchor” on which further decisions, discussions and negotiations are made. Anchoring is most effective when there is scarce information to be found about an item or if the customer is negligent.

How marketers can use them:

Most buyers start their buying journey with little knowledge of price or quality, placing huge leverage on the hands of the seller. This enables the sellers to set the initial price at a very high point from where they can make significant profits, even if the customer manages to bargain a heavy discount on the initial price. Even in this age of prevalent information, anchoring still plays a crucial role in market dynamics.

Availability Heuristic

Availability Heuristic is very similar to Affect Heuristic, in which the individuals often rely on the first information they could recollect. This often comes in handy while evaluating concept, method, decision or topic. If people are often able to recollect information, they perceive it as something important. 

How marketers can use them:

In marketing, targeting availability heuristic is often central to most campaigns. The best way to stay in the minds of the customers is to present a brand as a solution to a problem. First, identify a pestering problem of the target customers and present the brand as a solution to that problem. Another great way to cater to availability heuristic is to present the success of the brand among its customers. Customers are more likely to recollect a brand if they perceive them as the leaders of the field.

Human Biases Advantages
Human Biases which Marketers can Exploit

Confirmation Bias, the most impactful among human biases

People are creatures of habits and beliefs. Most of them use beliefs as identities and cling on to them. Confirmation bias refers to the tendency of people to use any information they come across to reinforce such held beliefs, even rejecting scientifically proven knowledge if it contradicts their beliefs. Confirmation bias is often seen in greater effect when it involves emotionally charged and deeply held issues. 

How marketers can use them:

Confirmation bias is a powerful tool in marketers kit to change the perception of a company. Even if a company is selling the same product as it has always been selling, changing the perception alone is enough to boost sales by a whopping margin if done right. The best way to create a confirmation bias is to set an initial expectation or suggestion and build evidence around those perceptions. Confirmation Bias has a lasting effect as seen in the case of Maruti, where it is still perceived as an “Indian” car brand even if they are no longer owned by an Indian entity.

Decoy Effect

When presented with two major options, customers often select either of the options if a third option is presented which may offer symmetrically declining feature options, but is priced asymmetrically.  

How Marketers can use them:

Often used by many SaaS companies, Decoy effect is great at driving customers to the desired product/service price range. People tend to go towards products which has a larger feature set, but getting it at a perceived better-valued price range.

Endowment Effect

People are more likely to start caring more for an object that they already own. This bias is known as the Endowment Effect. This effect is borne out of a sense of familiarity and people tend to avoid items which have a sense of risk and uncertainties associated with them. 

How marketers can use them:

Endowment Effect is great at creating a sense of Brand Loyalty. As a marketer, it will be highly beneficial for you to minimise the learning curve required to use your product so that customers can switch to your services seamlessly.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

The latest craze among young generations, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has always been a secret weapon among marketers The bias plays on the notion that others might be having great experiences while they might miss out on. It also gets into play when an attractive proposition is available for a limited time period.

How marketers can use them

Want to create a buzz for your brand in a short period of time? Fear of Missing Out is the one you need to target for. Marketers have always used this bias while creating a limited time period offer or when.

IKEA Effect, the most underutilised among human biases

IKEA is a Swedish based furniture manufacturer and retailer. They have innovated a unique business model in which they provide furniture directly to the consumer without the required assembly. This helps save them on shipping and production cost. Another surprising benefit out of this is people love to build their own product even if it is imperfect and will treasure them as such.

How marketers can use them

Whenever possible, try to engage consumers. Make them part of the process, rather than an end goal to whom we have to sell. 

Car Branding, the most effective form of Out Of Home (OOH) Advertising

Car Branding For making Use of Human Biases
Car Branding For making Use of Human Biases

There are many other biases not discussed here and researching human biases is an ever ongoing process. If you would like to implement the full effects of these biases, you can try Car Branding. Read our article on Car Advertising Advantages to understand how car branding can help you in your effort to reach out to more audience. BrandOnWheelz is India’s largest car advertising company

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