Consumer motivation is an internal state that drives people to identify and buy products or services that fulfill conscious and unconscious needs or desires. The fulfillment of those needs can then motivate them to make a repeat purchase or to find different goods and services to better fulfill those needs.
Needs are the core of the marketing concept. The study of Motivation refers to all the processes that drives in a person to perceive a need and pursue a definite course of action to fulfill that need.
What are Needs: Every individual has needs that are required to be fulfilled. Primary needs are food, clothing, shelter and secondary needs are society, culture etc.
What are Wants: Needs are the necessities, but wants are something more in addition to the needs. For example, food is a need and type of food is our want.
What are Goals: Goals are the objectives that have to be fulfilled. Goals are generic and product specific in nature. Generic goals are general in nature, whereas product specific goals are the desires of a specific nature.
Needs and fulfillment are the basis of motivation. Change takes place due to both internal as well as external factors. Sometimes needs are satisfied and sometimes they are not due to individual’s personal, social, cultural or financial needs.
Theories of Motivation
Maslow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy
Based on the notion of a universal hierarchy of human needs Dr Abraham Maslow, a clinical psychologist formulated a widely accepted theory of human motivation. This identifies five basic levels of human need which rank in order of importance from lower level needs to higher level needs.
This theory signifies the importance of satisfying the lower level needs before higher level needs arise. According to this theory, dissatisfaction motivates the consumer.
Following are the levels of human needs
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory
- Physiological Needs: Food, clothing, air, and shelter are the first level needs. They are known as the basic necessities or primary needs.
- Safety or Security Needs: Once the first level needs are satisfied, consumers move to the next level. Physical safety, security, stability and protection are the security needs.
- Social Needs: After the safety needs are satisfied, consumers expect friendship, belonging, attachment. They need to maintain themselves in a society and try to be accepted.
- Esteem Needs: Then comes esteem needs such as self-esteem, status, prestige. Individuals here in this stage want to rise above the general level as compared to others to achieve mental satisfaction.
- Self-Actualization: This is the highest stage of the hierarchy. People here, try to excel in their field and improve their level of achievement. They are known as self-actualizers.
Critics to Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Level
(i) Concepts are too general
It is said that hunger and self-esteem are considered to be similar needs but the former is urgent and involuntary in nature whereas latter is a conscious and voluntary type.
(ii) This theory cannot be tested empirically
This means that there is no way to measure precisely how satisfied one need must be before the next higher need becomes active.
Need hierarchy is also used for the basis of market segmentation with specific advertising appeals directed to individuals on one or more need levels. For example- cigarette ads, soft drink ads etc., often stress a social appeal by showing a group of young people sharing good times as well as the product advertised. It is also used for positioning products policies, education and vocational training etc.