Did you make a purchase recently? Was it a last minute grab-and-go decision or did you weigh your options, research different products and try to find the best deal? In the end, the reasons behind why you purchase certain products or interact with particular brands really comes down to psychology. And that is where a consumer psychologist comes in handy!
What Does a Consumer Psychologist Do?
Consumer Psychologists study the relationship between consumers and products or services. They analyze how people respond to marketing, including their emotional response, how they make judgements and ultimately how they behave toward marketing (do they make a purchase, do they tell others about the service, etc).
Those interested in Consumer Psychology will find themselves examining advertisements, packages and labels, in-store displays, coupons and other marketing items.
Fundamentally, Consumer Psychologists are intent on not only describing how people respond to market communications, but even more importantly on predicting what will work with consumers in the future.
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Careers in Consumer Psychology
Consumer Psychology is a relatively new field, but with exciting implications. Consumer Psychologists work anywhere from private to public industry. You may be thinking that Consumer Psychologists are limited to working in advertising firms, and although that is certainly a relevant career choice, it’s definitely not your only option!
As a Consumer Psychologist you could…
- work with the government to conduct studies on how people respond to false advertising and develop government standards around advertising
- work with a private company to help them develop successful product packaging
- work in a university lab conducting experiments tracking study participants’ eye movements as they are shown magazine ads
- work with a legal firm in litigating trademark infringements
While most Consumer Psychologists work for research universities, those in the private sector find they are able to attain larger salaries.
Obtaining a Consumer Psychology Degree
It’s helpful for a Consumer Psychologist to also be familiar with the basics of marketing and communications, so many Consumer Psychologists may have a PhD in Psychology with a MA in Communications. The best way to find a psychology program with faculty who are familiar with Consumer Psychology is to read related Consumer Psychology journals and note the names of the authors and their affiliated universities.
Wherever you decide to attend school, you should plan on working through to a doctorate degree in order to practice in the field.