Customer Motivation


Customers are motivated to purchase, but not for the same reasons.  To date, most explanations of customer motivation are based on cognitive factors rather than biological factors.  At the very basic level, it is easier to apply Maslow’s theory.

Some experts believe that application of Maslow’s theory has been somewhat simplistically explained in a commercial application, especially as the same product or activity can gratify different needs. Yet, individual purchasing considerations and motivation aren’t easy to understand.  Motivation can be a combination of learning experiences, buying history, and cultural environment.

In crafting products and services for the marketplace, managers should conduct research where targeted consumers are involved in order to formulate a well-balanced marketing-mix relative to the competition. Each customer has a need.

As you know, consumers are very complex. In fact, no two people are alike. Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, maintain that marketing research can limit the risks associated with management marketing strategies.

Let’s explore this matter. Doing focus groups on the targeted market to gather market information would be critical. For example, a new retirement development would want to follow this strategy.  Who would want to live there?

If the primary demographic was women and widows, then amenities would need to be in line with these demographics.  Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, further suggests that the specific way we choose to satisfy a need depends on our unique history, learning experiences, and cultural environment. Therefore, gathering information about prospective consumers is critical to the marketing mix. 

Please discuss customer motivation from your own professional experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

13 thoughts on “Customer Motivation

  1. For myself and I am sure most others, purchases are predicated on an emotion. As discussed in the video packaging plays to those emotions. I can think of one area where packaging pays a significant role in persuading consumers to pick one over the other. I believe that to be wine. With the increase of consumption and marketing, wine makers seek new and different was to brand their products. “No matter how excellent the quality of the wine itself, the packaging design is the first thing that customers see and become the basis of most customers when deciding to buy the wine or not.” (Gutierrez, 2010) For me, should I be in the mood to try something new, I will shop the labels and allow whatever label that stands out to be my selection. I know too, should I be looking for a “nice bottle” I will pick one that I am familiar with our perhaps choose one with a sophisticated label. I am sure other product can replace wine for this example.

    Gutierrez , G. (2010, May 10). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

      • Professor Green,

        I have been thinking about your question. Yes, I believe all purchases are emotionally based. Obviously a want is emotionally based. A need on the surface may not seem emotionally driven, but by not fulfilling that need, emotions will be stirred. Therefore subconsciously I believe even a need purchase is emotionally driven. I don’t think it’s totally possible to separate emotions form any purchasing decision.

  2. It is important for companies to do research on what their customers need and want. For companies, doing their research can lead to an effective way to target the market that they want. Customers are interested in products that are targeted towards people like them.

    Users are always connected and highly engaged with the people and topics they care about to help them effectively shop. Consumers can choose whether to learn about a brand or not. How a brand resonates with consumers depends on their mindset. Consumers are most responsive to a brand when they are researching a specific topic. They place more value on information received while in this mindset than at any other time (Coupons, 2013).

    With their constant use of technology and social media, today’s consumers are smarter and more invested in what they buy and marketers are taking advantage of this newly empowered customer by creating transparent and positive stories about their companies and products (Bloomberg Business Week, 2013).

    Bloomberg Business Week. (2013). The Naked Brand: The Future of Marketing. Retrieved from
    Coupons. (2013). Motivating Consumers. Retrieved from

      • I think companies have to give their customers time to make sure that they really do want a certain product. When they make up their mind that they really want it then the customers will use that as motivation to purchase.

  3. Dr. Green,
    Examining my own work history I find that customers value products differently. Customers will look at the application, price and location of a supplier. Customers are willing to pay more for a certain brands products compared to another’s because of these factors. Also in manufacturing where a supplier is located can heavily affect the customers interest in the product form that company. Let’s say that a customer is located in the United States it is more willing to align its self with a US supplier or one located in the US versus China or Europe. That’s because of fear of shutting down to a lack of parts. This all goes back to customers’ needs and wants. If you fill what the customer needs and then are able to address most if not all the wants you stand the best chance of getting their business. However having a the low price can be the most helpful sales tool you have to a customer.” There are four reasons that motivate customers to change suppliers – that compel them to action, to try something different, to risk the pain. Unfortunately sellers lump these four reasons into one – getting the lowest price.”( Arlen, 2011)

    Refrences- Arlen, C. (2011, August 1). Buyer motivation: 4 reasons customers change suppliers. Retrieved from

  4. Yes, understanding your customers motivates them to buy, but what are some things that can be done to ensure they stay a loyal customer? Based on our passed case studies of companies such as Allegiant Air and Party City, I found what kept most customers coming back for more, is good customer service. Customer service proved to be the main driving factor when it comes to customer’s loyalty and motivation.

    Some other techniques used to motivate customers to buy, is providing an incentive for their purchase. I once purchased a microwave for my mother and received a beautiful serving bowl to compliment my purchase- and man, I felt great! So, maybe I’m just a sucker for free incentives, but according to one source,

    “Improving existing customers motivation could be done through rewarding customers for their long term loyalty to a brand or company. One method is to motivate customers to buy more of a product by giving a reward for doing so, such as receiving a gift voucher or gift card. This shows the customer the company understands that they want a reward with freedom to choose something they would really like” (“Customer motivation,” ).


    Customer motivation. (n.d.). Retrieved from

  5. From my experience, consumer motivation can be driven by many different factors depending on the type of product itself. From the seller’s point of view, I think to provoke customer motivation in a product or service there must a strong demographic that addresses some sort of need or desire from the product or service. I also believe that motivation can be placed into two simple categories: emotion and need. Either there is a motivation by utility, a necessity, or it is emotional motivation. A perfect example of these would be purchasing a car. The utility motivation would be needing a mode of transportation to get from point A to point B and the emotional motivation would be wanting the yellow convertible. Nicos Rossides writes on his page that sales personnel can take either angle towards a customer. [1] “that the customer gets in the end may be the same, but how they get there – through the promotion-focused strategy of seizing opportunities to gain (e.g., better mileage, bonus features, a free cup of coffee) or the prevention-focused strategy of avoiding losses (e.g., high fuel costs, an inferior product)” (Rossides, 2013).

    Rossides, N. (2013, February 01). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

  6. Daryl Green, I enjoyed your thoughts on the need for a more developed marketing mix when developing a product to meet consumer wants. Although Consumer behavior is directly attributable to Maslow’s theory, it may only be accurate to the extent that people will always seek to purchase those items that will sustain life and proceding up the pyramid once those needs are fulfilled.. However, Maslow’s theory will not pinpoint the specific product (brand) a consumer will choose. Equal to Maslow’s theory,an emotion based purchasing theory seems to be a simplified way of saying a consumer will buy a product if a company can build an emotional connection between the purchaser and the product. However a strong an emotional connection may be, sociological and cultural factors will often outweigh previous attachments a consumer may have once held towards a specific brand. Those socio-cultural factors may only be found through Research and Development (R&D). In china, coca-cola and other soft drink providers lost a majority market share to Wahaha brand cola in only 4 short years after the company initiated a soft drink line in the year 2000. R&D, the key for the Chinese success, is a must for any company seeking to gain an increase in market share. Palmon and Yezegal (2012) state, “Besides information collection skills, the the ability to process information is essential to derive private information from consumers”(pp. 625). By discovering past market trends and cultural nuances, a company will be able to reach the target market it is seeking. Emotions are a powerful buying tool, but all marketing requires constant R&D and people in place who are able to quantify that data.

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