Key pschological processes in marketing


Marketing and environmental stimuli enter the consumer’s consciousness. A set of psychological processes combine with certain consumer characteristics to result in decision processes and purchase decisions. The marketer’s task is to understand what happens in the consumer’s consciousness between the arrival of the outside marketing stimuli and the ultimate purchase decisions.

Four key psychological processes motivation, perception, learning, and memory fundamentally influence consumer responses to the various marketing stimuli.

A motive is a need that is sufficiently pressing to drive the person to act. A need becomes a motive when it is aroused to a sufficient level of intensity.

A person has many needs at any given time. Some needs are biogenic; they arise from physiological states of tension such as hunger, thirst, or discomfort. Other needs are psychogenic they arise from psychological states of tension such as the need for recognition, esteem, or belonging.

The psychological forces shaping people’s behavior are largely unconscious, and that a person cannot fully understand his or her own motivations. When a person examines specific brands, he or she will react not only to their stated capabilities, but also to other, less conscious cues. Shape, size, weight, material, color, and brand name can all trigger certain associations and emotions. A technique called laddering can be used to trace a person’s motivations from the stated instrumental ones to the more terminal ones. Then the marketer can decide at what level to develop the message and appeal.

Motivation researchers often collect “in-depth interviews� with a few dozen consumers to uncover deeper motives triggered by a product. They use various projective techniques such as word e association, sentence completion, picture interpretation, and role playing.

Today motivational researchers can identify different motives a product can satisfy. For example, whisky can meet the need for
social relaxation, status, or fun. Different whisky brands needs to be motivationally positioned in one of these three appeals.

Research analyzing paper towels revealed that its appeal to mothers is in how cleanliness plays into their instinctive desire to have their genes survive.

Human needs are arranged in a hierarchy, from the most pressing to the least pressing. In order of importance, they are physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. People will try to satisfy their most important needs first. When a person succeeds in satisfying an important need, he or she will then try to satisfy the next-most-important need. For example, a starving man will not take an interest in the latest happenings in the art world. But when he has enough food and water, the next most important need will become salient. Marketers understand how various products fit into the plans, goals, and lives of consumers.

There is a two-factor theory that distinguishes dissatisfiers (factors that cause dissatisfaction) and satisfiers (factors that cause satisfaction). The absence of dissatisfiers is not enough satisfiers must be present to motivate a purchase. For example, a computer that does not come with a warranty would be a dissatisfier. Yet the presence of a product warranty would not act as a satisfier or motivator of a purchase, because it is not a source of intrinsic satisfaction. Ease of use would be a satisfier.

Sellers should do their best to avoid dissatisfiers though these things will not sell a product, they might easily unsell it. Second, the seller should identify the major satisfiers or motivators of purchase in the market and then supply them. These satisfiers will make the major difference as to which brand the customer buys.