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FREE online courses on Consumer Behaviour and Motivation - Meaning of Buying Motives

According to W.J. Stanton: “A motive can be defined as a drive or an urge for which an individual seeks satisfaction. It becomes a buying motive when the individual seeks satisfaction through the purchase of something.

Primary buying motives

Secondary buying motives

  1. Food and Drink
  2. Comfort
  3. To attract opposite sex
  4. Welfare of beloved ones
  5. Freedom from fear and danger
  6. To be superior
  7. Social approval
  8. To live longer
  1. Bargains
  2. Information
  3. Cleanliness
  4. Efficiency
  5. Convenience
  6. Dependability, quality
  7. Style beauty
  8. Economy, profit
  9. Curiosity.

Source: Melvin S. Hettwick

All these motives are not equally forceful. Here we describe only important buying motives:

1.                  Freedom from fear and danger: Fear is a negative motive but is a very powerful one. The most basic instinct of a human being is self‑preservation. Fear is a very powerful and compelling force in human affair. The marketing man must ascertain the possible fear of death, fear of loss and fear for the future, fear can sell anything like hair oil through fear of getting bald.­

2.                  Desire for economy: Persons desire money to satisfy their other desires. The businessman wants money to make more profits or lower costs. The manufacturers make purchase of high priced heavy machinery to lower down their cost of production and thereby increases profits. In the same way every customer likes his money's worth.

3.                  Vanity: Women spend much time, thought and money on their personal appearance like cosmetics, hairdo and new styles. Hence vanity is a powerful motive in the hands of the marketing man being the safest appeal that may be used.

4.                  Appreciation: Everybody desires to be appreciated and complimented. He likes to be recognized as an important person. Because of this human intrait, it may be useful to use indirect method in place of direct methods that might prove offensive.

5.                  Fashion: It is the desire of everyone to imitate what others are doing. This may also be called imitation motive. It is closely linked with pride or desire for importance. This motive can be well exploited by the marketer.

6.                  Possession: The instincts of possession or a desire to call things as ‘mine' leads persons to hoard and collect things. Some persons collect postage stamps and old coins.

7.                  Sex or romance: Fancy clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, etc. are in great demand on account of the instinct of sex or a desire to attract the opposite sex. It is no wonder why this instinct is very often used by marketing men.

8.                  Love of others: This motive plays an important part when parents purchase all kinds of things for their children like toy, fancy garments and other presents, may go in for life insurance to make provision for their future. A bachelor going to marry will purchase numerous domestic articles. Therefore, this particular motive is as time described as that of ‘home building.' This instinct is also related to comfort and convenience motive.

9.                  Health or physical well-being: Many persons purchase health foods, vitamin tablets and patent medicines to maintain their health and physique well-being.

10.              Comfort and convenience: Most people don't like to exert much. Hence this motive may be well exploited by the marketing particularly for selling luxury items like motor, cars, sofa sets, furniture, vacuum cleaners, washing machine, television sets, etc. The sale of air conditioners and water coolers, fans is motivated in summer by this motive for comfort.

Using buying motives in marketing

Human behavior is fundamentally related to instincts. It is these instincts which make a person behave differently at different times. The appropriate motive must be crystallized if the marketing program is to be effective and appropriate in terms of product features and advertising strategy.

Patronage motives in retailing

Many people buy their daily requirements from a certain store but with patronage motives. The choice of a particular store depends on factors such as location, variety of goods stocked, reputation of the store, attitude adopted by the salesman in the store, the services offered by the store, the general appearance of the store etc. Some people prefer shopping at glamorous stores, others select economical stores. Thus persons prefer to match with their status or standard of living with that of the store.


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