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Chapter Five – Psychology Applied to Advertising

Written by Peter

Jun 1, 2023

June 1, 2023

1912  Now, consider point #2 from the previous Chapter (Knowing What Makes People Buy).

Knowing what makes people buy

This is probably the least understood principle in marketing. The fact is, people have been sold to by the same techniques for centuries.
Because human emotions haven’t changed over time – and they never will.
People buy for the same reasons now as they did 100 years ago, even 10,000 years ago.
Understand what it is that makes people buy and you will succeed. And succeed beyond your wildest dreams
And to understand this you will need to do what all top marketers have done, and that is to study those that have mastered the technique.

To help you in this respect, here is an article from an old manuscript written in 1912. I will of course, recommend many other resources.
Here’s the extract:

Psychology of Advertising and Salesmanship

Psychology, we are told, is the science of the mind. Now the “science” of a thing is simply the truth about the thing. Therefore, the “science”
of the mind is the truth about the mind and how it operates.

Psychology is a deep and endless study, and it is not our intention in this Lesson to do any more than treat the subject in a way that will give
you all the knowledge you will require of psychology in its relation to advertising and salesmanship.

We do not not deem it advisable for you to go into the subject further than is necessary in order to know what psychology is and what it has
to do with advertising and selling.
If you will give the matter a little thought, you will realize that the process of selling goods, either personally or through advertising, altogether
a mental or mind process.

Whether a man buys or not depends on his state of mind, and his state of mind depends upon the effect the advertisements or the salesman’s
arguments have upon him. This being true, you can see the wisdom of gaming some knowledge of the mind and how it operates.

A prominent advertising man says: Advertising copy, business literature, or any printed or typewritten matter that is put out to exploit and benefit
a business must, in order to be ideally successful, do three things:
  1. It must interest the greatest number of people
  2. It must convince the greatest possible number of people
  3. It must force the greatest possible number of people to take the action which it suggests.
These three requirements are also the basic necessities for successful salesmanship … Advertising copy and verbal salesmanship are not
improved so much by development of the art of writing and speaking alone, as by increased knowledge of why and how men’s minds are influenced.
Whether salesmen or advertisers are aware of it or not, they employ the principles of psychology when they endeavor to attract attention,
stimulate desire, and influence the prospective customer to make a purchase. In fact, the advertiser and the salesman have but one objective – the
influencing of human minds.
Professor Halleck, a noted writer on psychology says:
“Business men say that the ability to gain attention is often the secret success in life.
Enormous salaries are paid to persons who can write advertisements certain to catch the eye.

A publisher said that he had sold only 5,000 copies of an excellent work merely because it had failed to catch the attention of many, and that
25,000 copies could have been disposed of in the same time if agents had forced them upon the notice of people.

Business life has largely resolved itself into a battle to secure the attention of people.”
From beginning to end, advertising and selling are psychological problems.

Every step in the progress of the sale is a mental one. Arousing attention, creating desire, moving the will; all are purely mental processes.

The display of goods, the appearance of an advertisement, the argument of the salesman, must be based on psychological principles.

The salesman’s arguments, if convincing, produce an effect upon the mind of the prospective customer that is designed to cause the
customer to act in the desired manner.


Understand what your Customers want and you will sell more.”
Not selling enough of your product?
Is your conversion rate small?
The reason is most likely that you don’t understand what your Customers want. Here’s a collection of 4 lost and forgotten manuscripts that all today’s
top marketers use, but don’t make it public because they don’t want you to know.
Find out how these classics can help you. Check it out here:
Long Lost Marketing Secrets

Study Human Nature

A leading advertiser has said: “Scientific advertising follows the laws of psychology. The successful advertiser, either personally or through his
advertising department, must carefully study psychology. He must understand how the human mind acts. He must know what repels and what attracts.

He must know what will create an interest and what will fall flat. He must be a student of human nature, and must know the laws of the human mind.
So you see, we need not be frightened by such a big word as psychology, for we now see that psychology is only human after all.
George French simplifies this matter of psychology, in its relation to advertising and selling, in his book: “The Art and Science of Advertising,” where
he says: So we can dismiss the weird word and simply acknowledge that we can sell things to a man more readily if we know the man.

We can’t personally know every man to whom we wish to sell goods. We must therefore, consider if there are not certain ways of thinking and acting
which are common to all men.
If we can discover the laws governing the actions of men’s minds, we will know how to appeal to those men. We know how to appeal to Smith because
we know Smith.

We know what will please Brown because we know Brown. We know how to get our way with Jones because we know Jones. What the advertiser must
know is how to get at Smith, Brown and Jones without knowing any of them.
While every man has his personal peculiarities and while every mind has its peculiar method of dealing with the facts of life, every man and every mind
is controlled, in a large sense and to a great extent, by predilection and mind workings which were established before we lived, and are operated in a
manner separate from his personality.

Our minds are more automatic, more mechanical than we are willing to admit. That which we loosely call mind is largely the automatic expression of
tendencies controlled by physical conditions wholly apart from conscious intellectual or moral motives or qualities.
What those physical conditions are, and how the knowledge of what they may be used by advertisers, forms the body of that new knowledge some
like to call psychology, so far as it concerns advertising.”
What this writer says applies, of course, to verbal salesmanship as well as to advertising, which is sometimes called: “Salesmanship in Print.”
The principles used to influence the mind of the prospective customer are the same in the case of a salesman as they are in the case of the advertiser.
One is the written message, while the other is the verbal message.


I mentioned “Salesmanship-in-Print” earlier. This phrase was first coined in 1904 by John E. Kennedy, and it is being used here, in this extract,
8 years later. Right up to today, nobody has been able to come up with a better definition of what advertising is.
You will be well advised to spend some time studying this definition. Claude Hopkins also used this expression and you can get his publication:
“Scientific Advertising” as part of a package right hereI
Claude Hopkins and Scientific Advertising

The Direct Command

Now a large majority of people do things because they are told to do them. It would seem from careful observation that more people are forced to action
by a direct command than by any other method of appeal.

This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the great mass of people do not think things out for themselves. The thinking is done by the small minority and the
bulk of the people accept the thoughts of the minority and act accordingly.
Perhaps 90% of the people act upon the command or suggestion of others. In other words, 10 per cent of the people are leaders – the 90% per cent are

You may think that in saying that fully nine-tenths of the people do not reason things out for themselves and act in accordance therewith, but simply
follow the reasonings and suggestions of others, we have put the percentage too high.

But we believe that if you will give the matter a little careful consideration and observe what it is that moves people to action, you will then probably say
that we have put the percentage too low.
If you will study the advertising columns of the newspapers and magazines, you will notice that the direct command is used more than any other method
to influence the actions of the readers.

Here are a few examples: “Smoke Blank’s Cigars.” “Use Blank Soap.” “Let Blank The Tailor Make Your Next Suit.” “Study Law at Home.” “Be a Trained
Nurse.” “Send for Particulars at Once.” “Clip the Coupon Today.”

Interest Your Prospects

From the psychological viewpoint the association of ideas is a matter of great importance in advertising and salesmanship. If your business or your goods
are not in themselves particularly interesting, you should find out something in which your prospective Customer is interested that can be associated in
some way with what you are offering.
If you are selling a farm, there may not be anything interesting about the land itself, but the prospect of large profits from the increase in the value of the
and is interesting to most people, as money-making is a subject that interests nearly all of us. So, to keep your prospect interested in your proposition,
it is only necessary to associate it with the idea of money-making and interweave your offer with that idea. In that way your farm becomes interesting to
your prospective Customer by becoming a part of something else in which he is interested.
Professor William James put this principle very clearly. He said: “Any object not interesting in itself may become interesting through becoming associated
with an object in which an interest already exists. The two associated objects grow, as it were, together; the interesting portion sheds its quality over the
whole, and thus things not interesting in their own right borrow an interest which becomes as real and as strong as that of any interesting thing.”
Now as it is true that interest can be secured in your goods by associating them, if possible, with something that is of great interest to your prospective
Customer, so can a desire for, or an interest in, your goods be destroyed by associating them with something unpleasant or undesirable.
To again quote Professor Halleck: “An eminent philosopher has said that man is completely at the mercy of the association of his ideas. Every new object
is seen in the light of its associated ideas …”


Discover the Secrets that the Top Marketers Use
You’ll never succeed in any kind of marketing whether on-line or off-line if you don’t understand what first makes people buy. Top marketers
today know these secrets, but even they learned from the old masters of marketing.

You can now know what they know by grabbing these 4 classic manuscripts that are jam-packed with ideas and reasons why people buy.

Check out:
Long Lost Marketing Secrets

Long Lost Marketing Secrets
Long Lost Marketing Secrets

Unattractive Advertising

We frequently see advertising that is not likely to produce the desired results because of an illustration that had a bad effect upon the mind of the
reader. Not long ago an advertisement of a toilet soap appeared in the magazines. The greater part of the space occupied by the advertisement
was devoted to a picture of an elephant walking through a marsh. In the imprints left by his feet in the mud appeared the name of the soap.

Now the logical method of advertising a toilet soap would be to associate it with something attractive, dainty, and refined. To use as an illustration
a picture of the largest and crudest animal that most of us know anything about was psychologically bad. And to have the name of the appear in
the muddy footprints of the beast suggested filthiness instead of cleanliness.
This advertisement was a splendid example of how not to advertise toilet soap. It must have produced in the minds of those who saw it just the
opposite of the effect desired, for surely the object of a toilet soap advertisement is to suggest refinement.
A good example of how a toilet soap would be advertised has recently appeared in the magazines. The soap is violet scented and is shown in
a dainty wrapper alongside a bunch of violets. The whole advertisement breathes fragrance and cleanliness and it would be hard to imagine an
advertisement better calculated to influence the reader in favor of the particular soap so advertised.
Among other advertisements that have offended by improper association of ideas is the one advertising a special brand of coffee in which frogs
are pictured. There seems to be no reason on earth why frogs were introduced into the picture, and certainly a picture of a slimy frog is not likely 
to attract us to nor make us want to drink that particular brand of coffee.
Another advertisement that went wrong in this respect was the one advertising bacon with a picture of a big fat hog. Most of us are fond of crisp,
sweet bacon, but we prefer to forget where it comes from.
Great care should be exercised in advertising and in picking foodstuffs. The idea of cleanliness should always be uppermost, for anything unclean
or otherwise disagreeable association with that which is to be eaten would be psychologically bad from an advertising and selling standpoint.
In advertising food products it is also advisable to see that the advertisement is properly located in the columns of the paper in which it appears
with relation to the articles advertised. Not long ago a page of small advertisements appeared in a newspaper where food advertisements were
sandwiched in between the most objectionable kind of medical advertisements.
Perhaps one of the hardest things to accomplish in advertising and salesmanship is to compel people to decide and act. It may be easy to get
people somewhat interested in your goods or your propositions, wherever they may be, but to get them to buy or sign the order is more difficult.

Work for Quick Action

The tendency for most people is to delay action. They seem to prefer doing nothing today that can be put off until tomorrow. It is on account of
this condition that so much thought is given to advertisers and salesmen to plans and methods calculated to bring about prompt decisions on
the part of prospective Customers.
Among the methods employed for securing quick action are the following:
  1. The special sale which has a “hurry up” at a low price for a limited time;
  2. the special bargain sale in which the numbers of articles offered is limited;
  3. the special discount if offer is accepted within a certain time;
  4. a premium to prompt purchases.
Many other plans for stimulating prompt action have been used and various methods can be devised by anyone who will give the matter a
little thought.
In conclusion, we will say that as psychology is only human nature as before stated, if we learn what the average man is likely to think and
do under certain conditions, we can be guided by that knowledge, as human nature is pretty much alike the world over.
Well, I think that makes it clear what is required to become a successful advertiser and salesperson.
You must study psychology. Human psychology.
And there is not a better book on the subject than Professor Walter Dill Scott’s “The Psychology of Advertising.”
Also I can recommend another, more modern, book by Robert Cialdini. The book is called: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”
and is available from most bookstores or Amazon
By heck! We’re half way through this chronological tour. Read every word carefully, you will learn much.

Chapter Six – The Most Important Part of Your Copy – is next up.

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