Using Behavioral Science to Create Stronger Marketing

woman with hand on her chin eyes looking to the left thinking

We would all like to think that our decisions are thoughtful, deliberate, and rational. But behavioral science reveals that it’s more pragmatic than that.

Our minds have two distinct modes of decision making—“System 1” and “System 2.” As Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize–winning behavioral economist explains, System 2 thinking is slow, conscious, effortful, explicit, and reasoned.


But 95% of our daily decisions are made using System 1 thinking—
fast, intuitive, and prone to error.


Think about everyday actions that are so effortless or instinctual we take for granted, like brushing our teeth, scanning a billboard on the way to work, or reaching for a favorite brand at the grocery store. These are all examples of System 1 thinking in action.

When we apply System 1 thinking to marketing communication, it becomes stronger — more noticeable, easier to understand, and simpler to engage with. Remember, shoppers are on autopilot. If you make your marketing do the hard work for them, it will work harder for you.

It all starts with four basic criteria of creative effectiveness, or the 4 C’s: COMMAND attention, CONNECT with the target customer/member, CONVEY information, and CLOSE the customer. To begin assessing a marketing element, ask yourself a few key questions:



COMMAND: Is your marketing attracting immediate interest and inspiring engagement? Command attention with distinctive color, shape, size, and sound as well a compelling call to action.


CONNECT: Is your brand and its equities immediately recognizable? Link your message to an existing memory to quickly and effectively connect with shoppers.


CONVEY: Is your message clear and simple yet compelling and rooted in insights? Use visuals, text, or both to tell a captivating story.



CLOSE: Does the communication overcome the target audience’s primary purchase barrier? Eliminate doubt and inspire clicks and engagement.


Marketing communication and creative rooted in behavioral science has the power to deepen consumer relationships and drive loyalty. Consider System 1 thinking and the 4 C’s as an insurance policy—a tool you can use to create stronger communication that not only connects and engages with shoppers throughout their journey, but produces real results.


* – System 1 vs System 2 Thinking