Motivation is both a psychological and physiological process. Individual behavior is directly correlated with motivation. There are two levels of motivation: one is to satisfy basic physiological needs, such as oxygen, food and water. The second level of motivation involves satisfying psychological needs. This second level is satisfied only after the first level is satisfied. These individual needs, both psychological and physiological, combined with group influences, shape customer perceptions and buying motives.
Maslow’s Hierarchy According to Abraham Maslow, basic human needs are arranged in a hierarchy according to their strength. Physiological needs are placed at the bottom of the pyramid. Physiological needs, sometimes called primary needs, are basic needs (hunger, thirst, shelter, and so forth), which tend to be very strong in the minds of most people. As basic needs are met, a person seeks to satisfy higher needs, such as, security, social, esteem and self-actualization. Security needs represent our desire to be free from danger.
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Desire to satisfy this need may motivate people to purchase burglar alarm systems, smoke alarms, medical and life insurance, traveler’s checks, and so forth. Social needs reflect the desire for friendship, companionship, and long-term business relationships. Customers want to be treated as partners. Esteem needs reflect the desire to feel worthy, competent, or adequate in the eves of others. Customers want salespeople or organizations to involve them in the transaction. Self-actualization needs refer to the need for self-fulfillment, a full tapping of one’s potential.
These are the highest-level needs on the hierarchy. Motivation & Buyer Behavior According to Jerry Thomas, “Motivational research seeks to discover and comprehend what consumers do not fully understand about themselves. Implicitly, motivational research assumes the existence of underlying or unconscious motives that influence consumer behavior. ” (2002) In other words, it is the marketer’s responsibility to improve the responsiveness of the consumer utilizing information drawn from the behavioral sciences.
Manning and Reese hold that customers perceive products and services in their own terms. Their perceptions are colored by their private experiences, needs, group influencers and motives. Perceptions influence buying motive because they determine what is seen and felt. Buying motive is an aroused need, drive or desire that stimulates behavior to satisfy that which was aroused. Geoff Lancaster suggests that “For marketing to be successful, it is not sufficient to merely discover what customers require, but to find out why it is required. (n. d. ) If this information is obtained than both the marketer and the consumer benefit as the consumer will be satisfied and the company will be rewarded with greater revenue. For purposes of this assignment this author will evaluate the application of Maslow’s social need to B2B and B2C purchases as it impacts buyer motivation. There are three social influences: class, reference groups and individual behavior traits. Class is perhaps one of the strongest social influencers impacting motivation.
Class is generally directly connected to income. According to Lancaster, income and/or education allow consumers to adopt behaviors different from those of their parents. Another influencer that impacts motivation is reference groups, or those people (e. g. family and friends) whose standards mold the individual’s perceptions through environmental exposure. Finally, motivation is impacted by the individual him/herself via personality and self concept as reflected though his/her impression of how others see them. B2C & B2B Purchase Applications
Consumer motivation can be illustrated via the need to satisfy desires to give the impression of wealth or success(i. e. to purchase a extravagant vehicle or home), cultural decisions to look more attractive or healthy(i. e. middle age women purchasing clothing and accessories that give the appearances youth) or internal influences such as pursuit of happiness or enjoyment. Business consumers are motivated in a more complex administrative manner and far less complicated individual manner. The lines that yield business motives are regulated by the organization’s bottom line.
The social needs that an organization has, has to do with its need for consistent long term relationships. Purchase decisions will be thought out and planned in a successful organization so to avoid the complexity of individual personal influencers. Conclusion While it is accepted that buyer motivation must be uncovered to be successful in marketing, it would seem that in some instances that it is possible and necessary to create motivation. Thomas came closest to this by suggesting that the marketer must uncover hidden buying motives that the consumer is yet to be aware of.
This implies that at some the consumer will be aware of his/her need on his/her own. This author suggests that in today’s competitive environment it is dually necessary to strive to create a need, one that does not yet exist. This is a true test of the marketer’s ingenuity. Moreover, this created need or desire would never have existed without the inventiveness of the marketer. A good example of this is the post-it note, without the erroneous invention of the weak adhesive this need would never have been realized.
References: Lancaster, Geoff. (n. d. ) Buyer Behavior. Retrieved on August 12, 2005 from http://www. joinme. net/hmtrust/dinesh/MBA/Buyer%20behaviour. htm Manning, Gerald L. & Reese, Barry L. (2000) Selling Today . Prentice Hall Perner, Lars PhD. (n. d. ) Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy. Retrieved on August 12, 2005 from http://www. consumerpsychologist. com/#Strategy Thomas, Jerry W. (2002) Motivational Research. Retrieved August 12, 2005 from http://www. decisionanalyst. com/publ_art/motive. asp