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Maslow's motivational need theory states that people are encouraged through their unsatisfied needs. It further implies that lower needs should be fulfilled prior to higher needs. Also, he stresses that each and every need (i.e. survival, physiological, love, safety, and esteem)Â should be fulfilled in an unbiased manner (Gawel, 1997).
The definitions of motivation (Meyer et al., 2004 and Parish et al 2008) and the concept of 'needs' (Drakopoulos, S. A., 1994) emphasis over consumers' purchase decisions. These definitions clearly justify that there is a relation between consumer behaviour and Maslow's motivational theory; as a person who is living in a street, would be more interested in food and shelter rather than keeping money to buy a BMW car.
Maslow's theory is quite pertinent for marketing purpose as marketers must keep into consideration this theory while designing marketing tactics and strategies, and specifically for marketing communication's quotes and messages.
The Maslow's theory is appropriately elaborated below :-
Source: (Huitt. 2004, pp1).
Physiological needs are primary needs of human being; it comprises the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, and shelter). These needs are more significant than safety needs or other needs which are in the hierarchy (Maslow, 1970).
He further described these needs as 'survival needs', and stated that their gratification is prominent in order to fulfil other hierarchical needs.
Security and safety comes under safety needs, it includes economic security and physical safety and economic security. Once an individual becomes physically secured and economically stable, he/she start focusing to social needs, which consist of need for love, affection, intimacy, acceptance etc.
After gratifying social needs, he/she starts craving for self accomplishment, which means prestige and social status.
The final need is Self-Actualization when the individual recognises his/her personal potential, seeks personal growth, self-fulfilment and peak experiences.
The main question here is how these needs do affects consumers purchasing behaviours, and what are the marketing implications?
Norwood proposes that Maslow's hierarchy is very helpful to describe and understand the variety of information that individuals search in order to gratify their needs at various levels. Norwood (1999) again stated that individuals at the lowest level only look for information which will him/her help to get their basic needs. Hence, any information which is not directly helping the individual to meet basic need will be ignored.
He further emphasized that individual who is at the safety level of the hierarchy will be interested for that information which will help him/her to be secure and safe. Belongingness needs can be easily sought out by Enlightening information [which is generally found in books, magazines or other materials pertaining to relationship development]. He further evoked that Individual at the esteem level would be more interested to gather Empowering information which will help him/her to satisfy their self ego. In order to satisfy cognitive, aesthetic, and Self-actualization needs, edifying information would be helpful.
"While Norwood does not specifically address the level of transcendence, I believe it safe to say that individuals at this stage would seek information on how to connect to something beyond themselves or to how others could be edified"
3.5 Learning and Perception
Perception 'is the process by which an individual selects, organises and interprets information to create a meaningful picture of the world''.
(Pizam and Mansfeld, 1999, pp21)
It is also defined as changes in an individual's behaviour based on experience.
Learning and Perception are very prominent and persuading psychological factors in consumer's buying decisions.
"Within the domain of perception, self concept is the totality of an individual's thoughts and feelings about oneself. Thus ones thoughts and feelings influences how one selects, organises and interprets information to create a picture of the world"
(Rosenberg 1979 and DeLamater, 2003)
After intensely analysing the two definitions [perception by Pizam and Mansfeld and self concept by Rosenberg], it can be easily conclude that consumers' perception about product affect his/her purchase decision as purchase decision is directly proportionate to consumer perception. Repercussion of perception in marketing is that people selectively perceive what they look forward for which ultimately affect their buying decisions. Different perceptions impact consumers' decision making differently (Pizam and Mansfeld 1999)
Selective perception notifies that it is a tendency of customer to organize and interpret information constantly, on the other side selective exposure proposes that customer pay attention to those thoughts and messages which are connected to its belief and attitude. And if in case these messages are not related or connected than they remain unnoticed and ignored.
Just opposite to this approach, selective comprehension states that customer interprets only that information which is consistent with their held attitude and belief. The other element of perception is selective retention which reveals that everyday customer come across several advertisement, marketing communication messages, emails etc but they do not remember all that they see, read, and hear, hence they are always very selective as what to retain and what not.
Lastly comes, subliminal perception, it stresses that several times customer hear and see messages without awareness, nevertheless, the impact of these messages on buying decisions is still pretty arguable.
Learning is a behaviour which result into repetitive buying. It comprises the process of automatic reaction to a circumstance constructed through constant exposure of it (i.e. Behavioural learning); monitoring the results of others' buying behaviour and correct it accordingly (i.e. cognitive learning) and the next arguable point is loyalty, it's a positive and supportive attitude or in other words consistent purchase of a single brand again and again (Kerin et al., 2003).
As per Delamater (2003), lifestyle means learning of influenc, how an individual live, what products he/she buys, how he/she use it, what they actually think about these products and how they feel. Moreover, attitude, values and beliefs are other very important psychological factors that stimulate consumer decision making.
3.6 Marketing, Social and Economic Factors influencing consumer purchase decisions
There are various factors like social, environmental, marketing, promotional, and economic except psychological factors, that play vital role in consumer buying decision. Persuasive promotional campaigns, advertisements and other informative messages are at time very useful while consumer buying decisions such as whilst information search phase, adverts serve as significant source in order to evaluate information regarding rival brands. [as discussed in chapter three] Moreover, marketing campaigns also convince consumer to a large extent in order to identify their wants and needs towards products and services (inception of decision making process)
Some factors like economic factor are as prominent as psychological influences (Pizam and Mansfeld, 1999; Norwood, 1999; Kerinn et al., 2003 and De Lamater, 2003) For instance, If need is identified, it is dependent on the consumer's economic powers that can actually decide whether to buy products or services or not to gratify the urge. At times consumers' ethical values could also stimulate the buying behaviour.
Additionally, disposable income and availability of finance have great impact on buying a product or brand over other, in a broader sense it greatly impact consumers buying decisions.
According to a research in US, it is revealed that the level of disposable income is considered most important factor which impact automobile demand. It further showed that the scarcity of fuel and frequent hike in gasoline prices also influenced the demand of cars to a great extent and noticed a steep fall in demand (Carlson, 1978)
Soon, another research was carried out by Carlson and Michael (1980) with the aim to forecast the demand of US car industry. This research concluded that disposable income is a major factor that affects the final demand. It also revealed that price plays a significant role to decrease the sale of automobile.
Similarly various other studies was carried out to by various researcher like Arguea, Hsiao and Taylor (1994), Kang and Chen (1996) Kobos, Erickson, and Drennen (2003) over the topics study of the US car industry and research of demand for Chinese automobiles. All of them concluded that prices of fuel and income of the consumer stimulates the demand of cars. Their research also demonstrated that availability of credit and income are very important determining factor of consumer decision.
Here the foremost question arises that how the recent economic recession result in to decrease in the demand of goods and especially for cars [which this project intends to uncover].
Generally, during recession, consumers even those who are employed] are sceptical and more conscious about their spending and more towards savings money for future uncertainties, and this is one of the reasons of reduced demand of goods and it is quite apparent in the car industry. Further, the impact of this and all other theories discussed above are analysed in chapter four and five.