Consumer Motivation and Involvement

12 Key Terms and Concepts

Cognitive dissonance (post-purchase dissonance): Also known as “consumer remorse” or “consumer guilt”, this is an unsettling feeling consumers may experience post-purchase if they feel their actions are not aligned with their needs.

Consumer involvement: A consumer’s involvement level reflects how personally important or interested they are in purchasing/consuming an item.

Customization: A marketing strategy used to increase involvement and engagement levels with consumers, customization involves the personalization of products for large groups of homogenous (similar) consumers.

Drives/Drive theory: Drives represent the “tension” we feel when our body is out of balance, for example, due to hunger. Hunger is therefore a “drive state”: drives represent physiological characteristics, or, things that we feel, and are motivated to resolve because they are essential to our survival.

Expectancy theory: This theory works very differently from Drive theory because it explains our motivations when desirable outcomes are achieved through our own effort and performance.

Extrinsic motivation: The tendency to take action and pursue a goal (motivation) because the outcome and achievement itself will be beneficial.

Goals: A goal represents how we would like things to turn out, also known as a desired end state.

Hedonic needs: Needs that are considered luxurious and highly desirable.

Hemostasis: A term used to describe a natural (and harmonious) state of our body’s systems. Homeostasis is achieved when a need or goal is satisfied (e.g. when we’re hungry we eat; when we’re tired we sleep).

High involvement: High involvement decision making typically reflects when a consumer who has a high degree of interest and attachment to an item. These items may be relatively expensive, pose a high risk to the consumer (can’t be exchanged or refunded easily or at all), and require some degree of research or comparison shopping.

Impulse buying: A type of purchase that is made with no previous planning or thought.

Intrinsic motivation: The tendency to take action and pursue a goal (motivation) because the process itself will be beneficial and fulfilling.

Limited problem solving: Consumers engage in limited problem solving when they have some information about an item, but continue to gather more information to inform their purchasing decision. This falls between “low” and “high” involvement on the involvement continuum.

Low involvement: Low involvement decision making typically reflects when a consumer who has a low level of interest and attachment to an item. These items may be relatively inexpensive, pose low risk (can be exchanged, returned, or replaced easily), and not require research or comparison shopping.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” (1943) is a motivational theory that places 5 needs in a hierarchical structure. It begins with basic (physiological) needs; safety needs; social needs; ego needs; and ends with self-actualization needs. Maslow’s theory was based on the belief that lower-level needs should be attended to before upper-level needs could be.

Motivation: The psychological energy, or driving force, that pushes us to pursue our goal(s).

Motivational conflicts: In a marketing context, these different types of conflicts exist when consumers are faced with making a choice between purchasing decisions that bring on different outcomes — positive and/or negative. The three motivational conflicts are approach-approach; approach-avoidance; and, avoidance-avoidance.

Needs: A basic deficiency (lacking of) an essential item, such as food, water, and shelter.

Personalization (individualization): A marketing strategy used to increase involvement and engagement levels with consumers, personalization involves tailoring a product (or service) to meet the unique needs & wants of a specific consumer.

Prevention orientation: A self-regulatory orientation we use emphasizes goals as things we should be doing as well as things we should be avoiding. This orientation focuses on safety, responsibility, and security needs as well as avoiding problems, dangers, and potential threats.

Promotion orientation: A self-regulatory orientation we use emphasizes goals as things we are hopeful about as well as things that bring accomplishment and advancement to our needs. This orientation focuses on things that we want to do that will bring us pleasure and positive outcomes.

Routine response behaviour: This concept describes when consumers make low-involvement decisions that are “automatic” in nature and reflect a limited amount of information the consumer has gathered in the past.

Utilitarian needs: Needs that are considered practical and useful.

Wants: Identifying specific and personal criteria on a need and how it should be fulfilled.

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