Motivation is a concept that is difficult to define. In fact, the difficulty of defining motives and dealing with motivation in consumer research accounts for its limited application. For the most part, the research in motivation involves benefit segmentation and patronage motives. Patronage motives typically concern the consumer's reasons for shopping at a particular outlet. Consumers are classified, for example, as price-conscious, convenience-oriented, service-oriented, or in terms of some other motivating feature.
A motive is the inner drive or pressure to take action to satisfy a need. To be motivated is to be a goal-oriented individual. Some goals are positive, some are negative, some individuals have a high level of goal orientation, some have a very low level. In all cases, the need must be aroused or stimulated to a high enough level so that it can serve as a motive. It is possible (and usual) to have needs that are latent (unstimulated) and that therefore do not serve as the motive of behavior. The sources of this arousal may be internal (people get hungry), environmental (you see an ad for a Big Mac), or psychological (just thinking about food can cause hunger).
For motivation to be useful in marketing practice, a marketing manager must understand what motives and behaviors are influenced by the specific situation in which consumers engage in goal-directed, problem-solving behavior.
Motivation flows from an unmet need, as does all consumer problem solving. Perhaps the best known theory dealing with individual motivation is provided in the work of A H Maslow. One of the most important parts of Maslow's theory is his development of a model consisting of several different levels of needs that exist in a human being and relate to each other via a "need hierarchy”. Maslow has differentiated between five levels of needs. The first of these concerns itself with physiological needs; that is, hunger, thirst, and other basic drives. All living beings, regardless of their level of maturity, possess physiological needs. Physiological needs are omnipresent and are of a recurrent nature.7
Safety and security needs are second in Maslow's hierarchy. The difference between physiological needs and safety and security needs is somewhat hazy. Safety and security imply a continued fulfillment of physiological needs. This is an extension of the more basic needs.
Third in Maslow's hierarchy of needs are the love needs. These are the needs for belonging and friendship. They involve a person's interaction with others. The fourth level of needs in Maslow's hierarchy is the esteem needs. These are needs related to feeling good about oneself and having a positive self-image.
The fifth and highest level in Maslow's needs hierarchy is the need for self-actualization or self-fulfillment. This need can be defined as the need of a person to reach his full potential in terms of the application of his own abilities and interest in functioning in his environment.
It is important in discussing these levels of Maslow's hierarchy to point out two additional factors. First, Maslow has clearly indicated that these five levels of needs operate on an unconscious level. That is, the individual is probably not aware of concentration upon one particular need or one assortment of needs. One of the misunderstandings associated with Maslow's theory is that he believes the five needs to be mutually exclusive. That, in fact, is not the intent of Maslow. To the contrary, several of these needs may occur simultaneously for any one individual; the relative importance of each need for any one individual determines the hierarchy involved.
When we attempt to integrate Maslow's needs hierarchy with the concept of segmentation, we can see that a manager might find certain subgroups that fit together because of some homogeneity of needs. For example, a marketer may target a group with strong self-esteem needs in designing a promotional program for cosmetics. Appeals to higher-order needs are important for many products and services, even basic commodities.
Personality is used to summarize all the traits of a person that make him/her unique. No two people have the same traits, but several attempts have been made to classify people with similar traits. Perhaps the best-known personality types are those proposed by Carl Jung, as is a variation on the work of his teacher, Sigmund Freud. His personality categories are introvert and extrovert. The introvert is described as defensive, inner-directed, and withdrawn from others. The extrovert is outgoing, other-directed, and assertive. Several other more elaborate classifications have also been devised.
Various personality types, like people with various motives, are likely to respond in different ways to different market offerings. For example, an extrovert may enjoy the shopping experience and rely more on personal observation to secure information; thus, in-store promotion would become an important communication tool. Knowing the basic personality traits of target customers can be useful information for the manager in designing the marketing mix. Marketers have, however, found personality to be difficult to apply in developing marketing strategy. The primary reason for this is the lack of good ways to measure personality traits. Most available measures were developed to identify people with problems that needed medical attention. These have little value with consumers who are mentally healthy. As a result, most marketers have turned to lifestyle analysis.