Okeugo kenneth O.
7 min readJun 15, 2020


The Market Is Not Really As Smart And Objective As You Think!
: Cognitive Bias-Review

From time immemorial, we're continually challenged by information and choice overload!

As a way to sift through this obvious chaos more easily, our brain creates and stores systematic and observable patterns through which observable behaviors can be predicted and performed.

Cognitive bias makes us come to an illogical conclusion most times.

As humans we have done and invented awesome things, broken many man-limiting heights; we have even reached the moon.

Yet we manage to lose our phones and keys, forget what we are about to say, get overweight, forgotten to be kind, become broke and move from one crisis to another.

It also comes with something else, a powerful overconfidence that works around the clock to keep you from noticing all those shortcomings. Sure, you are capable of reason, logic and rationality, but when you fall short of those ideals, you tend not to even notice.

That brain in our skulls haven’t changed much in half a million years.

The bottom line is, every brain is infected with preconceived notions and patterns of thoughts that leads it astray without even knowing it.

We might pride ourselves of being very objective and rational,but the truth still remains that our brains have made us biased in one way or the other.

If you’re a business person, please pay close attention to cognitive biases because it affects every of your attempt to gain relevance through one of your action or the other.

An understanding of some bias would set you on a right direction towards understanding how your target market wants things done and how to satisfy their needs profitably.

Here are some biases that can impact how we view ourselves and how we should studyoir target market, they are:

1.AVAILABILITY HEURISTICS: This bias says that people are really not as attuned to statistics as we think. Statistics don’t change minds.

People are really bad at probabilities and would not naturally be moved by it’s inclusion in your persuasion attempt except it’s to support their already preconceived notion about something.

Statistics can justify an existing behavior as a form of confirmation.

2. COURTESY BIAS: People tend to be socially correct rather than being truthful.

Businesses should always remember this biase when conducting surveys because people would always want to please them ( unless of course they're dissatisfied).

To combat this, you can ask a tricky question that would dig deeper into them.

Asking them open ended questions like " is there anything we could do better?" Is a sure way to get deeper answers away from the pretence mask of courtesy.

Without an understanding of this,we'll get a negative representation of qualitative research.

The truth still remains that there is a human inclination towards politeness over honestly, especially when you ask them directly.

3. LOSS AVERSION : The fear of a loss is far more motivating than receiving a gain.

In simple term, People prefer not to lose money than to gain that same amount of money.

It’s like a brain deception. Even when the winning and losing value might be equivalent,we are naturally skewed to pick the negative push.

In a construction copy, if you use one of the two strategies as a compelling pre CTA;
A. Don’t lose $1000 in a year to plumbing repairs and cost, call us now!!!
B. Save $1000 a year in plumbing cost and repairs, call us now!!!

According to the loss aversion effect, we’re most likely to go with option A because of our loss averse nature.
Free trials invoke this effect too. It is because when we send a notification of the close or near close of what they’re currently enjoying for free, they’ll have the desire not to lose it especially when they’re getting value.

4. BEN FRANKLIN EFFECT: Ben Franklin can be said to be the father of influence outreach.

This bias shows how reverse reciprocity is a potent tool to get what you want.

He needed to talk to a popular and influential politician who did not give him audience.

He then asks for a small favour (a rare book) and gets it since it would cost the politician nothing valuable as his time. He then proceeded to ask for another small thing.

With time, this made the politician be in a state of cognitive dissonance which would make him most likely to answer his requests.
How can we learn from this?
Getting people to like you( maybe on social media) is a sure way to kickstart their cognitive dissonance or subsequent favours.

AUTHORITY BIAS: People naturally pay close attention to authority figures and term them credible. Surprisingly, even when not related, it is still trusted.

That is why we can have Cristiano Ronaldo to be an advert ambassador for unrelated stuff like Chicken, Toothpaste, Gum, Earphones, Mobile phones,etc. We naturally ascribe credibility to celebrity figures.

People place more relevance on who said what, than what they said.
But the truth still remains that, authority is more trusted when it goes with related offerings.

For small businesses that cannot afford the services of celebrities and authority figures, you can replicate ordinary people as authorities simply by their dressing and environment. (Like for example,you bring a normal person to lay the role of a professional medical practitioner in lab with his lab coat).

FLUENCY BIAS: When people encounter difficulty in name, design, UX,and language, it is perceived as not truthful.
In dishing out content, we must be careful not to be too ambiguous and technical because it would be shooting ourselves in the foot!

Any content that reduces Cognitive load(mental brain processing stress), is not trusted and seen to be less intelligent than others that have fluency.

BIZZARDNESS EFFECT: Unusual and unfamiliar material is easier to recall.
This recognizes that man remembers abstract things better. The brain stores and reads patterns easily. When you disrupt it's usual pattern, it tends to pause and think again and again.

You can use it in a content to catch attention. Example in a copy can be,

NATIVE FALLACY: People are always seeking for stories. They tend to connect dots fast.

Story telling has been a powerful content tool for businesses for years. We can leverage on stories when we use it on our testimonials ( for maximum impact and credibility).

When you tell stories, customers brain will be in synch with yours.

FORER / BANUM EFFECT: Many TV evangelists and fortune tellers use it alot. It takes from a general problem and tends to personalise it to suit your present situation in a way you’ll find it believable and personalised. Example; asking our prospects questions like;
Do you sometime worry despite being calm on the outside? (Of course who doesn’t).

This effect can be used in favour of businesses. Example;

"We know you’re busy with startegic plans to grow your firm recently, but can we help you manage your digital marketing?"

IKEA EFFECT: This bias states that people are more likely to value things they contributed in building more. The cocreation approach to doing business can act as a pivotal point in getting more sales.

Customization, finishing and cocreation between your brand and market tends to involve the unity principle that Robert Cialdini’s book highlighted.

Other noteworthy biases are ; Endowment effect, Bandwagon and cheerleader effect, precision bias, Illusory superiority, Anchoring bais,etc.

The truth still remains!
We are all susceptible to biases, especially when we’re fatigued, stressed or multitasking.
Even the smartest people exhibit biases in their judgements and choices. It’s foolish to think we can overcome them through sheer will. But we can anticipate and outsmart them by nudging ourselves in the right direction. If you choose to change how you view every situation, you will be amazed at the difference in the results you observe!

This is my 8th Review Post out of 12 in fulfillment of the mini-degree in Digital Psychology and Persuasion that I’m Currently doing in CXL Institute.

Stay safe everyone!!!



Okeugo kenneth O.

Digital/Growth Marketing | Neuromarketing |