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Belch: Advertising and II. Integrated Marketing 4. Perspectives on © The McGraw-Hill

Promotion, Sixth Edition Program Situation Analysis Consumer Behavior Companies, 2003

developed countries, marketers often sell products that fill basic physiological needs by appealing to consumers' higher-level needs. For example, in marketing its wipes, Pampers focuses on the love between parent and child (social needs) in addition to the gentleness of the product (Exhibit 4-5).

While Maslow's need hierarchy has flaws, it offers a framework for marketers to use in determining what needs they want their products and services to be shown satisfying. Advertising campaigns can then be designed to show how a brand can fulfill these needs. Marketers also recognize that different market segments emphasize different need levels. For example, a young single person may be attempting to satisfy social or self-esteem needs in purchasing a car, while a family with children will focus more on safety needs. Jeep used ads like the one in Exhibit 4-6 to position its cars as meeting the security needs of consumers.

Psychoanalytic Theory A somewhat more controversial approach to the study of consumer motives is the psychoanalytic theory pioneered by Sigmund Freud.4 Although his work dealt with the structure and development of personality, Freud also studied the underlying motivations for human behavior. Psychoanalytic theory had a strong influence on the development of modern psychology and on explanations of motivation and personality. It has also been applied to the study of consumer behavior by marketers interested in probing deeply rooted motives that may underlie purchase decisions.

Those who attempt to relate psychoanalytic theory to consumer behavior believe consumers' motivations for purchasing are often very complex and unclear to the casual observer—and to the consumers themselves. Many motives for purchase and/or consumption may be driven by deep motives one can determine only by probing the subconscious.

Among the first to conduct this type of research in marketing, Ernest Dichter and James Vicary were employed by a number of major corporations to use psychoanalytic techniques to determine consumers' purchase motivations. The work of these researchers and others who continue to use this approach assumed the title of motivation research.

Motivation Research in Marketing Motivation researchers use a variety of methodologies to gain insight into the underlying causes of consumer behavior.

Exhibit 4-5 Pampers appeals to needs Exhibit 4-6 Jeep uses an appeal to for love and belonging in this ad security needs

Exhibit 4-5 Pampers appeals to needs Exhibit 4-6 Jeep uses an appeal to for love and belonging in this ad security needs

Methods employed include in-depth interviews, projective techniques, association tests, and focus groups in which consumers are encouraged to bring out associations related to products and brands (see Figure 4-3). As one might expect, such associations often lead to interesting insights as to why people purchase. For example:

• Consumers prefer large cars because they believe such cars protect them from the "jungle" of everyday driving.5

• A man buys a convertible as a substitute mistress.

• Women like to bake cakes because they feel like they are giving birth to a baby.

• Women wear perfume to "attract a man" and "glorify their existence."

• Men like frankfurters better than women do because cooking them (frankfurters, not men!) makes women feel guilty. It's an admission of laziness.

• When people shower, their sins go down the drain with the soap as they rinse.6

As you can see from these examples, motivation research has led to some very interesting, albeit controversial, findings and to much skepticism from marketing managers. However, major corporations and advertising agencies continue to use motivation research to help them market their products.

Problems and Contributions of Psychoanalytic Theory and

Motivation Research Psychoanalytic theory has been criticized as being too vague, unresponsive to the external environment, and too reliant on the early development of the individual. It also uses a small sample for drawing conclusions. Because of the emphasis on the unconscious, results are difficult if not impossible to verify, leading motivation research to be criticized for both the conclusions drawn and its lack of experimental validation. Since motivation research studies typically use so few participants, there is also concern that it really discovers the idiosyncracies of a few individuals and its findings are not generalizable to the whole population.

Still, it is difficult to ignore the psychoanalytic approach in furthering our understanding of consumer behavior. Its insights can often be used as a basis for advertising messages aimed at buyers' deeply rooted feelings, hopes, aspirations, and fears. Such strategies are often more effective than rationally based appeals.

In-depth interviews

Face-to-face situations in which an interviewer asks a consumer to talk freely in an unstructured interview using specific questions designed to obtain insights into his or her motives, ideas, or opinions.

Figure 4-3 Some of the marketing research methods used to probe the mind of the consumer

Projective techniques

Efforts designed to gain insights into consumers' values, motives, attitudes, or needs that are difficult to express or identify by having them project these internal states upon some external object.

Association tests

A technique in which an individual is asked to respond with the first thing that comes to mind when he or she is presented with a stimulus; the stimulus may be a word, picture, ad, and so on.

Focus groups

A small number of people with similar backgrounds and/or interests who are brought together to discuss a particular product, idea, or issue.

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