Motivational Research Techniques15/09/2022
Motivational research is a kind of marketing research that tries to explain why customers behave as they do. Indirectly, motivational research assumes the presence of underlying or unconscious reasons that influence consumer behaviour.
Motivation research is a form of consumer research which has gained ground over the recent years. Motivation Research is the currently popular term used to describe the application of psychiatric and psychological techniques to obtain a better understanding of why people respond as they do to products, ads and various other marketing situations.
Motivational research tries to identify forces and influences that customers may not be aware of (e.g. cultural factors, sociological forces). Naturally, these unconscious motives (or beyond awareness reasons) are intertwined with and complicated by conscious motives, economic variables, cultural biases, and fashion trends (broadly defined).
Motivational research tries to examine through these influences and factors to undo the mystery of consumer behaviour as it relates to a specific product or service, so that the marketer well understands the target audience and how to influence that audience.
Techniques of Motivation Research:
The techniques used in motivation research are of two types namely, Projective Techniques and Depth Interviews.
These projective techniques represent the test conducted to establish the personalities of the respondents and their reactions to product media advertisement package product design and the like.
They project or reflect the subject’s thought about what he or she sees, feels, perceives thus producing the reactions.
These tests are derived from clinical psychology and work on the postulation that if an individual is placed in an ambiguous situation, he is guided by his own perceptions to describe the situation.
They often provide, an insight into the motives that lie below the level of consciousness and when the respondent is likely to rationalize his motives consciously or unconsciously; his responses tend to reflect his own attitudes and beliefs by indirection and discretion; they are his own perceptions and interpretations to the situation to which he is exposed.
There are five most commonly administered tests of this kind namely:
- Thematic Appreciation Test.
- Sentence Completion Test.
- Word Association Test.
- Paired Picture Test and
- Third Person Test.
- Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT):
Under this test, the respondent is presented with a picture or series of pictures of a scene or scenes involving people and objects associated with goods or services in questions. These are unstructured, doubtful in action and very often neutral giving no expression or motions. The respondent is to study the picture or the pictures and construct a story.
His narrations or readings are interpreted by a skilled analyst. Thus, the picture may be of a young man scribbling on a piece of a paper. Here, the respondent is to read as to whether the person in picture is writing. If so what? For whom? And why? And so on.
- Sentence Completion Test (SCT):
Sentence completion tests are designed to discover emotional responses of the respondent. It is the easiest, most useful and reliable test to get the correct information in an indirect manner. The respondent is asked to complete the sentence given.
For instance, the questions may be, in case of ladies:
- I like instant coffee because……………
- I use talcum powder because…………..
- I use electric kitchen gadgets because………………….
- I do not use pain-killers like aspirin because……………..
- I do not like red, brown and black colours because…………………….. In case of men, these questions may be
(a) I liked filter tipped cigarettes because………………….
(b) I gave up smoking because…………………
(c) I love natural proteins because………………..
(d) I prefer cold coffee because………………
(e) I do not use foam beds because……………….
The way the questions are asked, do not reflect right or wrong answers. However, the emotional values and tensions are reflected in the answers so given.
- Word Association Test (WAT):
Word association test is similar to that of sentence completion test. The only difference is that instead of an incomplete sentence, a list of words ranging from twenty-five to seventy-five is given. This is the oldest and the simplest kind of test.
The respondent is to match the word. That is, the word suggested by the researcher is to be associated by the respondent by the most fitting word he thinks. This is widely used to measure the effect of the brand names and advertising messages.
Here, it is not possible to give all the seventy-five words. On illustrative basis, let us have fifteen words:
- Tooth paste
- Hair oil………..
- Glass wares………….
- Video cassettes………………
Thus, a respondent may give his preferences as ‘Colgate’ or ‘Promise’ or ‘Close-up’ or ‘Forhans’ in case of tooth paste. On the basis of such answers, it is possible to determine a scale of preference.
- Paired Picture Test (PPT):
This is another very appealing and easy to administer test. Paired picture test means that the respondent is given a pair of pictures almost identical in all respects except in one. For instance, the researcher may be interested in knowing the reaction of respondents to a new brand of refrigerator.
The pair of pictures may show a woman opening refrigerator which is moderately priced with a usual brand; another picture of the same woman opening the refrigerator door of another brand.
Looking to these two pictures, the respondent is to give his own feelings or reactions. Though the same pair is shown to so many respondents, the reactions differ from person to person. Instead of using the usual figures, cartoons may be introduced. The analyst gets here the inner feelings of an individual for this analysis purpose.
- Third Person Test (TPT):
The format of this test is that the respondent is given a photograph of a third person may be a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a star, a player, a professional and the like The point involved is that the researcher is interested in knowing what the third person thinks of an issue as heard through the respondent.
It is assumed that the respondent’s answer will reveal his own inner feelings more clearly through the third person than otherwise it would have been possible.
The best example of this kind the test conducted on American house-wives in connection with ‘instant coffee’. Prior to the test, the attitude of house-wives was “It does not taste good”, with the test being conducted, the real attitude was “A lady using instant coffee is lazy, spend-thrift and not a good housewife”. This amply clears the fact how the test revealed the naked truth.
In addition to these tests of usual type, the researchers do use other qualitative techniques such as role-playing, psycho-drama, graphology and the like.
Motivation Research Technique:
There are four techniques of conducting motivation research:
(a) Non-disguised Structured Techniques.
(b) Non-disguised, Non-structured Techniques.
(c) Disguised Non-structured Techniques.
(d) Disguised structured Techniques.
(a) Non-disguised Structured Techniques:
This approach employs a standardized questionnaire to collect data on beliefs, feelings, and attitude from the respondent.
Single Question Method:
(I think it is a good product or I think it is a poor product).
Multiple Questions Method:
(Numbers of questionnaires asked about the attitude) and Physiological Tests (laboratory tests such as galvanic skin response, eye movement etc. measure attitudes of people towards products) are carried out under this approval.
(b) Non-disguised, Non-structured Techniques:
These techniques use a non standardized questionnaire. The techniques are also called depth interview, qualitative interviews, unstructured interviews, or focussed interviews. All these techniques are designed to gather information on various aspects of human behaviour including the “why” component.
(c) Disguised, Non-structured Techniques:
In this approach, the purpose of study is not discussed to respondents unlike above two cases. A list of unstructured questions is used to collect data on consumer’s attitudes. This art of using disguised and unstructured method is referred to as “Projective Techniques”.
The projective techniques include several tests given to the respondents. They may be asked to give their comments on cartoons, pictures, stories etc. The stimuli used for this purpose are capable of answering the respondent to a variety of reactions. A number of Projective Techniques, are available to the market researchers for the purpose of analysing “why” part of consumer behaviour.
(Projective Techniques and Word Association as follows).
The main Projective Techniques are:
- Word Association Test (W.A.I):
The interviewer calls a series of listed words one by one and the respondents quickly replies the first word that enters his mind. The underlying assumption is that by “free associating” with certain stimuli (words) the responses are timed so that those answers which the respondent “response out” are identified.
- Sentence Completion:
Sentence completion test is similar to word association test except that the respondent is required to complete an unfinished sentence.
For example, “I do not use shampoos because……..”
“Coffee that is quickly made…………. ”
- Story Completion:
In this technique the respondent is asked to complete a story, end of which is missing. This enables a researcher to find out the almost exact version of images and feelings of people towards a company’s product. This helps in finalising the advertising and promotional themes for the product in question.
- Research of Ink-blot Tests (or Research Tests):
Motivation Research employs this famous test. These tests are not in much use in marketing research. The research test expresses in a classic way the rationale behind all projective tests, that is, in filling the missing parts of a vague and incomplete stimulus, the respondent projects himself and his personality into the picture.
A lot of ink is put on the piece of paper and reference is made of company, product, and the respondent is asked to give his view points after interpreting what he sees in the blot before him. The respondent say, “ugly packaging of the product”, or “excellent performance of the product”. This response will help the seller to finalise his marketing strategies.
- Psychographic Technique:
This includes galvanic skin response, eye movement and eye blink test etc. which uses various Instruments with the physiological responses.
- Espionage Technique:
There are two methods in this technique:
(i) Use of Hidden Recorders:
Such as hidden tape recorders, cameras used to watch consumers as they make purchases or consume items.
(ii) Rubbish Research:
This is another method of espionage activity. Here, the researcher shifts through the garbage of individuals or groups and record pattern of consumption, waste, and brand preference. It gives most required estimates of consumption of cigarettes, medicines, liquor, and magazines etc.
(d) Disguised Structured Techniques:
When we are to measure those attitudes which respondents might not readily and accurately express, we can use disguised structured techniques. The disguised structured questionnaire is easy to administer and code.
Respondents are given questions which they are not likely to be able to answer accurately. In such circumstances they are compelled to ‘guess at’ the answers. The respondent’s attitude on the subject is assumed to be revealed to the extent and direction in which these guessing errors are committed.
Uses of Motivation Research:
- Motivation Research leads to useful insights and provides inspiration to creative person in the advertising and packing world.
- Knowledge and measurement of the true attitude of customers help in choosing the best selling appeal for the product and the best way to represent the product in the sales talk, and in determining the appropriateness and weight age of various promotional methods.
- Motivation Research can help in measuring changes in attitudes, thus advertising research.
- Knowledge and measurement of attitudes provides us with an imaginative market segmentation tool and also enables estimating market potential of each additional segment.
- Strategies to position the offer of the company in a particular market segment should be based on the findings of motivation research.
Limitations of Motivation Research:
- Cautions are required to be exercised not only in the application of these techniques but also the resultant data should be analysed and interpreted according to the psychological theory.
- Originally these techniques were developed to collect data from a single individual over a period of time. It is not free from draw backs while we apply these techniques to gather data from a number of individuals.
- The designing and administering of these techniques need qualified and experimented researchers. Such personnel are not easily available.