Motivation and emotion/Book/2015/Consumer motivation
What motivates consumers to purchase?
Overview[edit | edit source]
Humans consume more then any other creature on earth; and as humans almost none of the products we consume we produce ourselves; therefore most of the items we consume we must purchase. What are the motivations that cause us to purchase a given product? Our most basic motivations involve motives that help us to survive, such as the motivation for food, shelter, and water. Although are these basic motives the only reason why we as humans purchase goods and services? This chapter sets out to discuss reasons why humans purchase goods and services, and examine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and determine whether the model can be used to adequately describe processes and reasoning as to why humans are motivated to purchase goods and services.
The motivation of a consumer purchasing a given product can be broken into human “Needs” and “Drives”. A need is an innate physiological desire basic to human beings, and when this need is activated it becomes a motive. A drive refers to a psychologically stimulated need that an individual seeks to satisfy (Winston, 1989). For, example when your body becomes dehydrated, the corresponding physiological need is thirst; the corresponding psychological drive is obtaining a drink to replenish the body’s water deficit. In the context of this chapter where does this water come from? It can argued that reason that a person purchased a bottle of water was due to their need to fulfil there basic human needs. Although does this suggestion work with all basic human needs . Although it can be argued that humans purchase items necessary for human life to continue, such as food and water, it does not explain why humans would buy seemingly “wanted” items, such as luxury items like a new phone or new television.
Advertising and specifically sponsorship is a large contributing factor to whether a consumer purchases or does not purchase a given product. Advertisers do this in many ways, such as direct advertising where an advertiser directs an advertisement at the viewer, or through the use of sponsorship. The important question is how does this adverting work and is there a link between advertising and the basic human needs to where a person will make a purchase? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is not the only theory or model available that be used to explain why and how advertising works, or how it is used to motivate a consumer to purchase a product. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains well the reasoning why a consumer would purchase a specific product and each level of the hierarchy is useful for explaining different purchases a person would make, such as the lower level of the hierarchy explains the most basic motives for a consumer to purchase goods and services in relation to basic human needs such as food, water or shelter that are needed to sustain life, the higher levels of the hierarchy can be used to explain why a person would purchase seemingly not as important human needs such as items to do with esteem and social standing (Saroja & Gomez‐Arias, 2008).
What is Consumerism? [edit | edit source]
Although the consumer movement can be traced as far back as the early 1900s, the actual term “consumerism” is a relatively new and only dates back to 1944. Since this origin of the term, the definition has changed considerably from referring to consumer cooperation to a modern meaning which has negative connotations towards excess materialism (Swagler, 1994). The term consumerism, was first documented in The New Republic in 1944, in the context the author was referring to consumer cooperatives and was encouraging elimination of waste in retail and wholesale distribution. The term consumerism, in terms of the consumer movement was not used later until the mid 1960’s; in this context the term referred to the positive was to describe the consumer movement. This Consumer Movement encouraged consumer rights and protection laws (Hilton, 2007). A modern view of consumerism is still defined as a social movement to inform consumers so that they can make knowledgeable judgements regarding purchases (Meyer, 1981). Although this is an accurate definition of consumerism it does not describe the negative social connotations of the term, Modern consumerism can be referred to as an ideology that encourages excessive acquisition of goods and services in increasing amounts, 95% of Americans believe that most of their fellow Americans were overly materialistic (Huneke, 2005). This leads us to question, what leads us as consumers to purchase?
What is a consumer, what is a purchase and why do we purchase? [edit | edit source]
A consumer refers to any person that purchases goods and services for personal use, therefore as a consumer a purchase is when a person exchanges money for goods and services. But what makes us purchase? During the last century humans have become more and more total consumers, in contemporary society humans are unlikely to produce all, if any of the required components of what is required for basic needs such as food, water, clothing or shelter (Imhoff et al., 2004). As modern humans, we are unlikely to grow or farm ingredients for the food we eat, capture the water we drink from rain or from a water reserve, grow the required materials or hunt and kill animals to produce clothing, cut down trees or gather materials to build our own shelter. The answer for this can be classified as, lack of ability or knowhow, lack of time. Due to these reasons, as modern humans we have needed to purchase goods and services to fulfil our basic human needs such as the need for food, water and shelter, we as humans also tend to purchase goods and services to fulfil the greater psychological needs such as the need for esteem or social standing.
Why Do Consumers Purchase?[edit | edit source]
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs[edit | edit source]
The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model can be used to describe consumer motivation to purchase goods and services. Maslow developed a theory of human needs; he believed that humans have an active drive towards health, growth and actualization of the human potential. Maslow characterised humans as perpetually “wanting creatures” (Oleson, 2004). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs involves five hierarchical levels. The Lower levels needs to be must to be met prior to moving to a higher level of the hierarchy. The lower levels items refer to the basic human needs of physiological needs, which work up to higher levels more psychological personal needs such as Esteem Needs and Self-Actualisation (Maslow, 1943).
· Self-Actualization – refers to the need of becoming motivated to fulfil ones own potential, or becoming fully self-realized and achieving onespotential.
· Esteem Needs – refers to the need to satisfy where they belong, humans have a desire for status, respect and the esteem of others.
· Love and Belonging needs – refers to the need for fulfilment of social belonging, such as companionship and social acceptability.
· Safety and Security Needs – refers to need to be free of danger, or more accurately physical or psychological harm.
· Physiological Needs – refers to basic human necessities such as food, water, rest, shelter, or any need that is required to sustain life.
This Hierarchy of Needs as theorised by Maslow can be used to answer the question of what motivates consumer to purchase. The first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be used to explain why a consumer purchases basic human needs. The first level of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs refers to physiological needs; this level explains human’s motivation to fulfil these needs, this need explains that humans engage in behaviour to obtain what is necessary to fulfil the need in question. As previously mentioned in the day and age it is very unlikely for a human to produces these needs themselves, we would be considerably more likely to purchase these items to overcome the physiological need. Therefore Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a successful model at outlying why a human would purchase specific items, A great deal of consumer behaviour is directed to satisfy survival needs, through the purchase of food, clothing, and shelter (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
Safety and Security Needs on Maslow’s hierarchy is safety needs, many consumer behaviours are prompted by safety needs, therefore a person will tend to purchase a house in a “good” area, or through the task of purchasing medication to remain healthy.
Love and Belonging Needs on Maslow hierarchy, can also be used to explain aspects of consumer purchasing certain items. Consuming relates to love and being the feeling of being loved by providing the opportunity to demonstrate ones feeling via purchasing gifts. Another aspect on the Love and Belonging need, which explains why humans purchase given items, is due to conformity. Humans tend to dress according to fashion, by the latest home appliances such a larger television, new phone. This is due to the human need of belonging, where we as humans aspire to belong our peer group (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
Esteem needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy refer to the need to feel competent, respected and superior. This need can be used to explain why a person would indulge in purchasing goods that show our uniqueness and separate us from the rest of the crowd, such as new television, new sound system or possibly new car.
The Maslow Hierarchy of needs is an acceptable theory that explains well why consumers are motivated to purchase a given item, as this model can be used to explain why a consumer would purchase a process such as food or clothing as to fulfil the basic human physiological needs. This model works well as it can also be used to explain more complex and arguably non-necessary purchase, such as a luxury items such as televisions or a new phone.
The Effects of Advertising on what Consumers Motivation to Purchase[edit | edit source]
Advertising is a paid one-way communication through a specific type of medium where the sponsor is identifiable and the message is controlled, the effectiveness of this advertising can be attributed to individual personality variables and the attention of the consumer (Mehta, 2000). Advertising can be seen in almost all parts of normally daily life, from television, radio, print media, social media, even the billboards we see when we drive from one area to another. The concept of advertising works hand in hand with the basic and not so basic human needs, all types of advertising can be associated with a specific step in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Yalch & Brand, 1996). Be that advertisements that are designed to attempt to increase motivation in consumers to purchase a given product, such as fast food being advertised during meal times to increase a consumers motivation and drive to obtain food to fulfil the human need of hunger within the physiology level of the hierarchy. For example, almost one third of the advertising we see during the dinner meal time of between 7pm and 9pm in Australia is advertising for food products, and over 80% of these food advertisements were for unhealthy food (Chapman, Nicholas, & Supramaniam, 2006). An additional example would be advertising new clothes and accessories on younger thin, attractive models; this would be associated with the esteem and belonging hierarchical level (Halliwell, 2004).
As mentioned above, specific advertising can relate to different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, encompasses different from the more basic that is needed to sustain life and is associated with physiological needs up until more personal social needs that are associated with psychological needs. Due to this, advertisers will design specific advertisements that correspond to each of the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in relation to Advertising
|Name of Need||Description of Need||Description in Advertising||Example|
|Self-Actualization||The need of becoming motivated to fulfil onesown potential, or becoming fully self-realized and achieving ones potential.||An example of this would be advertisements for further education, such as university or tertiary education. These advertisements usually encourage self-growth and the achievement of ones own goals||YouTube|
|Esteem Needs||The need to satisfy where they belong, humans have a desire for status, respect and the esteem of others.||An example of this would be an advertisement that if a consumer purchased a specific product it would result in a higher social standing and esteem, such as a luxury car advertisement||YouTube|
|Love and Belonging Needs||The need for fulfilment of social belonging, such as companionship and social acceptability.||An example of this would be a deodorant advertisement that depicts, a consumer of the deodorant being surrounded by attractive models while suggesting belonging or a jewellery advertisement that suggests giving a gift of jewellery is socially acceptable.||YouTube|
|Safety and Security Needs||The need to be free of danger, or more accurately physical or psychological harm.||An example of this would be an insurance advertisement depicting a dangerous outcome or event from occurring, or a fire safety advertisement that depicts a dangerous event that could happen if a person is careless||YouTube|
|Physiology Needs||The need for basic human necessities such as food, water,rest, shelter, or any need that is required to sustain life.||An example for this need would be a fast food company advertising during a meal time, such as dinner, or a company advertising||YouTube|
MaslowsHierachy of needs is useful for explaining the reasoning behind motivation of a consumer purchase but it does not adequtly explain as a model the steps of a consumer purchase. The Attention, Interest, Action, Satisfaction, theory is one of the earliest examples of a consumer purchasing theory (Strong, 1925). This theory is summed up in terms of “wants”, and outlined a basic process of a consumer purchasing a product or “want”. Consumer purchase theory have changed considerably since the early 1900’s, this can be attributed to a number of reasons, such as further research into human motivation, technological advancements, and general knowledge in relation to psychology as a whole.
Maslow's Hierachy of Needs fits well with modern consumer purchasing models, and work well together to attempt to explain the process’s involved in a consumer purchasing or not purchasing. Consumer motivation is only a part of a consumers purchasing process (Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999).
The Effects of Sponsorship on what Consumers Motivation to Purchase[edit | edit source]
Sponsorship is an ever-increasing part of how we are advertised to in day-to-day life. Sponsorship in the years between 1984 and 1999, the amount spent on commercial sponsorship worldwide grew from $2 Billion to $23.16 Billion (Meenaghan, 2001). Sponsorship can be described as a provision of assistance either financial or in-kind to an activity (such as a sporting event, music event, or festival) by a commercial organisation for the purpose of achieving commercial objectives (Kevin, 1997). These statistics highlight the extent sponsorship plays on how we are advertised products in daily life.
As sponsorship is a form of advertising many of the factors relating to advertising can be used to describe how sponsorship works as a motivator for consumers to purchase goods and services, although sponsorship differs from advertising in the fact that sponsorship is a form of advertising, but it differs as the medium and creative message is not tightly controlled by the sponsor (Javalgi, Traylor, Gross, & Lampman, 1994). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, can still be used as a tool to describe, in the term of human needs, how sponsorship works to motivate consumers.
Examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in relation to Sponsorship
|Name of Need||Description of Need||Description in Sponsorship||Example|
|Self-Actualization||The need of becoming motivated to fulfil ones own potential, or becoming fully self-realized and achieving ones potential.||An example of this would be a tertiary institution sponsoring a sporting team, such as the University of Canberra Vikings or Brumbies.||YouTube|
|Esteem Needs||The need to satisfy where they belong, humans have a desire for status, respect and the esteem of others.||An example of this would be a luxury manufacturer of watches sponsoring the Australian Open, fits with esteem and social standing needs to be seen in position of success and power.||YouTube|
|Love and Belonging Needs||The need for fulfilment of social belonging, such as
companionship and social acceptability.
|An example of this would be a apparel company sponsoring an elite athlete, fits with human need of being socially accepted, as a peer or person of influence would be wearing a specific brand.||YouTube|
|Safety and Security Needs||The need to be free of danger, or more accurately physical or psychological harm.||An example of this would be a government anti violence advertisement being played as sponsorship before an event.||YouTube|
|Physiology Needs||The need for basic human necessities such as food, water, rest, shelter, or any need that is required to sustain life.||An example of this would be a fast food company advertising their logo during a sports game, or a fast food or beverage company being a “official partner” of a sporting event, fits with the basic human needs to sustain life||YouTube|
As it can be seen, forms of advertising, more specifically sponsorship, can motivate a consumer to purchase goods and services. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be used to explain how these advertising techniques encourage humans in the terms of there basic human needs.
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
In conclusion, the factors that encourage a consumer to purchase goods and services relate to a number of deciding factors, such as specific types of advertising and sponsorship. Although Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is only one of many theoretical models for basic human needs, it can be shown that the hierarchy of needs can be utilised as a model to explain the motivations which encourage a consumer to purchase goods and services. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs explains both the physiological needs and psychological motivate behaviour in humans. Through examining each step in the hierarchy, it can be seen that each step can be utilised to explain specific aspect of consumer motivation, from a consumer being motivated to purchase a basic human need such as food or drink, up to more personal needs such as esteem and social standing needs such as luxury items.
Test yourself![edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (2000). The Costs and Benefits of Consuming. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(2), 267-272.
Halliwell, EmmaDittmar Helga. (2004). DOES SIZE MATTER? THE IMPACT OF MODEL'S BODY SIZE ON WOMEN'S BODY-FOCUSED ANXIETY AND ADVERTISING EFFECTIVENESS. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 23(1), 104-122.
Hilton, Matthew. (2007). Social activism in an age of consumption: the organized consumer movement. Social History, 32(2), 121-143. doi: 10.1080/03071020701245751
Huneke, Mary E. (2005). The face of the un-consumer: An empirical examination of the practice of voluntary simplicity in the United States. Psychology & Marketing, 22(7), 527-550. doi: 10.1002/mar.20072
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