With the clutter of different products and services available an understanding of how people are motivated to buy is essential to effective marketing strategies. Motivation works as a complex process in consumers. What follows is a simple way to understand this process.
There are five basic types of motivation for consumers. Economic motivation is where price is the main motivating factor. For some consumers organizational factors are significant such as a mother buying for her family or a manager buying for the office or small business. We can be motivated by conditioning for example where we buy the same brand of foodstuff or cleaning products as our mother did. There are deep hidden and unconscious drives that motivate us to buy particular brands or products, pioneering marketing and PR gurus such as Bernays and Dichter used Freud's theories of the unconscious to market products and thus launched the PR industry. We are also motivated by what other people think of us, as in social factors that motivate us.
Motivation has drive and direction. Drive refers to the strength of the motivation and direction refers to the choice the consumer can make between alternatives.
Overt and covert motivating factors are the basis of our inner motivation as in the Freudian theory outlined above.
Tension reduction is the basis of motivation according to some theorists. It is argued that we live in a constant state of tension and buy things to reduce that tension, tensions are heightened by our needs and wants and in addition advertisers try to promote tension for us in order to encourage us to buy more.
Internal and external forces act on us to motivate us to buy, our own needs, experiences, desires, personality traits along with societal pressures or expectations will increase or decrease our motivation.
Valence is related to the attractiveness of a particular product and there can be conflicts for the consumer in some purchasing decisions. An approach approach conflict arises where two choices are equally attractive, an approach avoidance conflict arises where the decision to buy can have negative as well as positive consequences for the consumer and an avoidance avoidance conflict arises where two choices are equally unattractive. Marketers aim to resolve the conflict for the consumer by attaching positive attributes to their products.
Achievement is an important motivator for many consumers, this is related to positive reinforcement, where the outcome is seen to bring positive consequences rather than as a problem solving motivating factor.
Thirst for variety is a prime motivator for many consumers and companies often try to answer to this need by offering new products or types of products.
Individuality influences many of our purchasing decisions, our own individual preferences that are shaped by our unique memories, experiences and perceptions but also our need to be individual and to stand out from the crowd.
Order is another important motivating factor, most people crave order in their lives and a state of cognitive dissonance is found where someone's life is out of balance and a purchase can restore stability.
Needs are at the root of all motivation, as we have a range of needs that must be satisfied in order to live. Maslow's hierarchy of needs shows that there are basic needs, such as food, shelter and warmth, which must be satisfied before we can proceed to deal with more complex needs like love, friendship and belonging. At the top of the hierarchy are the self-actualization needs. Maslow held that the higher level needs could not be satisfied until the basic needs were met. Thus a person could be pushed up or down through the hierarchy of needs striving to reach a better state. Advertisers often use these needs to create tension for us, so that they push us to need more belonging for instance before we can move on.
By understanding some of these basic concepts a range of options or approaches can be further explored and examined in order to work out how to motivate buyers to be attracted to the products you are offering.