What is Consumer Motivation?

Motivation is the driving force within individuals that impels them to action. This driving force is produced by a state of uncomfortable tension, which exists as the result of an unsatisfied need. All individuals have needs, wants and desires. The individual’s subconscious drive to reduce need-induced tensions results in behaviour that he or she anticipates will satisfy needs and thus bring about a more comfortable internal state.

All behaviour is goal oriented. Goals are the sought-after results of motivated behaviour. The form or direction that  behaviour takes-the goal that is selected-is a result of thinking processes(cognition) and previous learning(e.g. experience).

There are 2 types of goals: generic goals and product-specific goals. A generic goal is a general category of goal that may fulfill a certain need; a product-specific goal is a specifically branded or labeled product that individual sees as a way to fulfill a need.

Product-specific needs are sometimes referred to as wants.

What are Innate Needs?

Innate Needs are those an individual is born with. They are Physiological (biogenic) in nature; they include all factors required to sustain physical life (e.g. food, water, shelter, clothing, sex, physical safety etc.,).

What are Acquired Needs?

Acquired needs those an individual develops after birth are primarily psychological (psychogenic). They include love, acceptance, esteem, and self-fulfillment.

For any given need, there are many different and appropriate goals. The Specific goal  selected depends on the individual’s experiences, physical capacity, prevailing cultural norms and values, and the goal’s accessibility in the physical and social environment.

What is the relationship between Needs and Goals?

Needs and goals are interdependent and change in response to the individual’s physical condition, environment, interaction with other people, and experiences. As needs become satisfied, new, higher order needs emerge that must be fulfilled.

How do People deal with Failure in achieving the goals?

Failure to achieve a goal often results in feelings of frustration. Individuals react to frustration in two ways:”fight” or “flight”. They may cope by finding a way around the obstacle that prohibits goal attainment or by adopting a substitute goal (fight); or they may adopt a defense mechanism that enables them to protect their self esteem (flight). Defense mechanisms include aggression, regression, rationalization, withdrawal, projection,daydreaming, identification, and repression.

Motives & Behaviours:

Motives cannot easily be inferred from consumer behaviour. People with different needs may seek fulfillment through selection of the same goals; people with the same needs may seek fulfillment through different goals. 

Although some psychologists have suggested that individuals have different needs priorities, other believe that most human beings experience the same basic needs, to which they assign a similar priority ranking.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory proposes five levels of human needs; physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, egoistic needs and self actualization needs.

Other needs widely integrated into consumer advertising include the needs for power, affiliation and achievement.

What are the 3 common methods for identifying and measuring human motives?

  1. Observation and Inference
  2. Subjective Reports
  3. Qualitative Research – including projective techniques.

None of these methods is completely reliable by itself.

Therefore researchers often use a combination of 2 or 3 techniques in tandem to assess the presence or strength of consumer motives.

What is Motivational Research ?

Motivational research is qualitative research designed to delve below the consumer’s level of conscious awareness. Despite some shortcomings, motivational research has proved to be of great value to marketers concerned with developing new ideas and new copy appeals.