The History Of Psychology In The Marketing Profession

Apr 21, 2023
Digital Marketing Agency

Welcome to Raw Codex's comprehensive exploration of the fascinating history of psychology in the marketing profession. In this page, we delve into the intricate relationship between psychology and marketing, highlighting the evolution of strategies and how they have contributed to the success of businesses across domains. Through understanding the application of psychology in marketing, companies can create more effective campaigns, build relationships with their target audience, and achieve their business goals.

The Early Beginnings

The application of psychology in marketing can be traced back to the early 20th century when advertisers began recognizing the importance of understanding human behavior and motivations. Early pioneers such as John B. Watson and Edward Bernays laid the groundwork for incorporating psychological principles into advertising campaigns.

Watson, an American psychologist, emphasized the use of emotional appeals to trigger desired responses in consumers. On the other hand, Bernays, often considered the father of public relations, focused on understanding subconscious desires and the use of persuasive storytelling to influence consumer behavior.

The Rise of Consumer Behavior Studies

As the marketing profession evolved, researchers began conducting extensive studies on consumer behavior. These studies aimed to uncover the psychological factors that drive purchasing decisions, allowing marketers to tailor their strategies accordingly. Key concepts such as motivation, perception, and attitudes became fundamental to understanding consumer behavior.

One influential theory that emerged during this period was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Proposed by psychologist Abraham Maslow, this theory suggests that individuals have a hierarchy of needs, ranging from basic physiological needs to self-actualization. Marketers started leveraging these insights to position their products or services as solutions that fulfill consumers' needs, creating compelling marketing messages.

The Cognitive Revolution and Branding

In the 1950s and 1960s, the field of psychology underwent a cognitive revolution. This shift expanded the understanding of human cognition and memory, which marketers quickly applied to branding strategies. They recognized the significance of creating strong brand associations and utilizing memory triggers to build long-term brand loyalty.

With cognitive psychology as a guiding principle, marketers began incorporating mnemonic devices, catchy jingles, and consistent brand imagery to reinforce brand recall in consumers' minds. The focus on cognitive aspects of marketing helped shape successful advertising campaigns that stood the test of time.

The Digital Age and Behavioral Targeting

The advent of the internet and digital technologies revolutionized the marketing landscape. With the increasing availability of data, marketers started using behavioral targeting to personalize their messages and experiences. This approach allowed companies to understand consumer preferences, habits, and interests through website visits, social media interactions, and online purchases.

Psychology played a pivotal role in the development of these sophisticated targeting strategies. Concepts such as social proof, cognitive biases, and persuasive design principles like scarcity and urgency became essential tools for crafting effective online marketing campaigns. By utilizing psychological triggers, marketers can engage with consumers on a deeper level and drive desirable actions.

The Modern Era: Emotional Branding and Neuromarketing

In recent years, emotional branding and neuromarketing have become prominent areas of study within the field of psychology in marketing. Emotional branding centers around forging emotional connections between consumers and brands, recognizing that emotions play a significant role in decision-making processes.

Neuromarketing, on the other hand, combines neuroscience and marketing to understand consumers' cognitive and emotional responses to various stimuli. By using techniques such as brain imaging, eye-tracking, and biometrics, researchers can uncover subconscious reactions, allowing marketers to fine-tune their messaging and visual elements to maximize impact.


The use of psychology in the marketing profession has come a long way, shaping the strategies and tactics marketers employ today. From the early pioneers who recognized the power of emotions to the modern era of neuromarketing and emotional branding, understanding consumer psychology has become essential for businesses seeking to gain a competitive edge.

Raw Codex is committed to providing valuable insights and thought leadership on the intersection of psychology and marketing. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in this dynamic field, we aim to empower businesses to harness the power of psychology in their marketing efforts.