Success in sales, marketing, branding, and general business starts with being able to sell yourself and your product. No matter the industry, having the ability to appeal to your target customers is the key to growing your business. There are some key tips and tricks that can help you sell your product or service to your customers - one of these tricks is called “cognitive bias”.

Cognitive bias is a principle of techniques that affects a person’s subconscious mind. In other words, you can convince anyone to love what you are promoting to them through social media, sales pitches, conversations, or marketing without them even knowing it! These biases are used in marketing all the time, but you likely don’t notice it because even those that are trained in cognitive biases are often influenced without knowing.

There are countless cognitive biases used across a variety of industries. Let’s dive into three of the most powerful biases that will help you grow your client base and expand your market.

Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect is one type of cognitive bias that is pretty well-known. We’ve all heard of “bandwagon fans” in sports; people who become a fan of whatever team is winning that week are known as “bandwagoners” or “bandwagon fans”. The bandwagon effect also works as a cognitive bias that is used in marketing and sales by organizations that want to sell products as well.

The bandwagon effect principle says that a consumer is more likely to purchase a product that is popular and frequently purchased by others. In other words, consumers will hop on the bandwagon of whatever brand or product is winning - or the most popular - at that time. Products that appear to be sold by the masses are more trusted as a product that is good and useful. 

In advertising, you can use this cognitive bias by displaying your product as one that is purchased often and by a lot of people. This gives consumers more confidence in a product, as they believe that it must be good since so many people are purchasing it. Another way to utilize the bandwagon effect is to use influencers on social media as advertisers. With thousands to millions of followers that trust their opinion, influencers have one of the biggest effects on mass markets of people to help you sell your product. Simply reaching out to an influencer and offering them some sort of incentive to post about or review your product is the best way to get into the influencer world.


The cognitive bias known as “salience” is a principle that states that people are more likely to purchase products that stand out from the others. This is where consistency and boldness in branding come into play. As an advertiser, branding your product to stand out above all other comparable brands is crucial. You want your target consumers to be intrigued and moved by your product; it should have some sort of positive effect on each consumer that inspires them to purchase your product rather than your competitors’ product.

Compare other products and brands in your industry as inspiration when branding your product. Look at the colors and fonts that are used and find something similar yet unique - there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just give it a little jazz. Additionally, using words like “exclusive”, “original”, or “authentic” will appeal to your consumers and encourage them to purchase your product because it appears as being the best without actually saying “number 1” or “best on the market”. Don’t forget that cognitive biases are subconscious principles.

Mere Exposure Effect

The mere exposure effect is a cognitive bias that is used in stores regularly, particularly in grocery stores where products are lined down aisles of shelves. Imagine you are shopping for a bottle of wine; the bottles of wine on the upper shelves are going to be pricier than those on the bottom shelves. The higher you go on the shelf, the higher the price - and it’s not by accident. When strolling down the aisle, your eyes are more likely to scan the products that are directly in front of you at eye-level, which is why stores encourage you to purchase the pricier items by displaying them at your eye level. This is also why grocery stores will put stacks of items at the end of an aisle. These products may not have been on your grocery list, but as they seem so readily available to you without having to search, you are more likely to make the decision to purchase. 

Boost your business exponentially by appealing to your target consumers’ subconscious mind. These three cognitive biases are just a few of the many that can help you in your advertising and marketing efforts. Check out three more cognitive biases to consider using in your next marketing campaign.


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