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Theory of Needs and Consumer Behavior


Motivation stimulates the behavior of all humans. The process of motivation starts an unsatisfied want and the created tension from it. In order to reduce the tension, the individual exerts all possible efforts. The motives or needs serve as the root of the different types of the motivation process.

1). Research and discuss the theory of need

The buying choices of a person are persuaded by the four psychologically driven factors which are perception, beliefs and attitudes, learning and motivation. A usual state of motivation is having many needs of a person.

Those needs may be biological or those emerging from tension states, others are psychological in nature which emerges from the need of esteem, belonging or recognition. The majority of the needs is however insufficient in motivating a person in acting in a specific period of time.

The need therefore transforms to a motive given that it emerged to a certain intensity degree. A motive is considered as a need which is adequately imperative to make the person to look for satisfaction.

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Most of the researchers collect information gathered from groups of consumers as samples in order to reveal the in-depth motives on their choice of products. (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007)

The needs can be negative, positive, hedonic or utilitarian, unconscious or conscious and as a result formulation of goals sets in. An individual may have many goals, some of which are infinite and frustration becomes possible when they fail to satisfy those needs. Through targeting substitutes or associated goals, or building defense mechanism like rationalization, aggression, withdrawal and regression, a person can then deal with his/her dissatisfaction and frustration.

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(ICMR, 2007)

It is extremely significant in the part of the marketers to be aware of the motives empowering the consumer as they manifest their consumer behavior. The theories in motivation help the marketers to have a full understanding of the consumption of consumers under the influence of their needs.

The Theory of Needs, known also a trio of needs by David McClelland tackles the three types of needs, which are the need for affiliation, the need for power and the need for achievement. The three types of needs have a vital part as strong influences or drivers of the consumers behavior. The concept of motivational conflict resolves the customers’ conflicting motives. In this point, the marketer then tries to forecast if the product has the potential to become solutions to conflicts. (McClelland & Burnham, 1976)

2). How needs fit within the stages of the consumer behavior models for both consumer

Motivation being a chief influence on the pattern of customer consumption lays the intense need to analyze and evaluate it as a part of research in marketing. Observations through qualitative techniques concentrates on groups, analysis and in-depth interviews are utilized to understand the suppressed motives of a particular consumer. How interested the consumer was about a product or their level of involvement reveals the consumer’s degree of motivation in buying a product. Stimulation is rooted and such situation and the consumer’s product contact reveals their level of involvement. (ICMR, 2007)

The customer’s involvement can vary in degree; it could also be high or active. It is essential for the marketer to comprehend the interest of the consumer and thus develop advertising and strategies. Therefore, the marketer who holistically understands the diverse needs that causes consumers their motivation in buying a certain service or product is capable of designing and showcasing the products successfully.

Marketers of bigger companies may utilize the strategy of full market coverage, wherein it can either be differentiated or undifferentiated. (ICMR, 2007) Consumer behavior research as the scientific study of the processes consumers use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products and services that satisfy their needs is very important in market research. Consumer behavior unswervingly affects marketing strategy. This is because of the concept of marketing, the idea that firms are present to satisfy customer needs (Winer, 2000).


During the earlier times, marketers can understand the consumers through their daily selling encounters with them. However, as business grew in size most of the decision makers in marketing have lost close contact with the consumers, and this resulted to conducting marketing research. The consumers are allotting greater amount of money compare before, the organization which fully understands the consumers’ response to various features of the product, prices, and appeals on advertising imposes greater advantage against their competitors. The markets should be studied and understood prior to developing marketing strategies.

The marketers should understand how the transformation of inputs to buying responses is made by the consumer market. The characteristics of the buyers and their decision process tremendously influence the consumer behavior. Cultural, social, personal, and psychological factors are the major factors of the buyer’s characteristics. The complex interplay of these factors results to the person’s buying behavior.

Generally, all three needs are present in each individual. One of the needs is the dominant one, also depending on the personality. The importance of the different needs at work depends upon the position one occupies. Managers need to identify what motivates others and to create appropriately motivating conditions for the employees as well as for marketers to keep their consumers loyal with their brands and offerings.



Armstrong G. & Kotler P. (2007). Consumer Markets: Influences on consumer behavior,

Principles of Marketing.

ICMR Case Studies and Management Resources. (2007). Consumer Behavior. Retrieved January

20, 2008 from

McClelland, D. C., & Burnham, D. H. (1976). Power is the great motivator. Harvard Business


Winer, R.S. (2007). Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

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Theory of Needs and Consumer Behavior. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from

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