Needs and motives, or just motives without needs?

What does a company need to sell their product? This seems to be the most important question that all companies are trying to figure out. Some companies, like Apple for example, seem to have a good grasp of this question. At least they sell their products like no one else. People line up to buy the latest version of the iPhone even though an ordinary person can’t tell the difference between the latest and the earlier version. I mean, it’s not like the new iPhone is bought by people who need a new phone. Most of the people lining up for the new one have a perfectly functioning iPhone 5 in their pockets. Well… the new one has a larger screen! That can’t be it, can it?

When I started to unravel this mystery I quickly found out that a number of things can be driving this mass hysteria. When one would easily think that the need always comes before the motive, it is somewhat surprising to see that this isn’t the case here. For some reason the motive to buy the new iPhone comes apparently without the need. What could be a possible answer then? The first thing that came to mind was that it must be a status thing. Or could it be that it’s not a need for a new phone that people attend to but the need to fit in? Perhaps the need is still there in just a different form you might expect.

The need is always there. In some cases you just have to look for it a bit deeper. Need is what drives consumers. It pushes us into action. Then comes motives. They are responsible for the course of our actions. This great definition was written in the lecture slides of a University of Kentucky marketing course. Think about it. I can assure you there isn’t a case in the world where a motive comes without the need. I admit, I was a bit surprised when I figured it out myself. I challenge you to find a situation where you buy something without attending to a need.

So, the next time you are buying something you think you really need, think again. Make yourself aware of what need or needs you are trying to satisfy. You might just save yourself a bit of money and some space in your tiny apartment. In summary: be a conscious consumer! Don’t let yourself be fooled by ads and mass hysteria. You have got the brains to think for yourself. By doing so you are forcing marketing people, like myself, to work harder and bring better products to you, the consumer.

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One Response to Needs and motives, or just motives without needs?

  1. villeylitalo says:

    Interesting approach to the subject Mikko! In my point of view, a new product is usually needed when the old one doesn’t satisfy your new or advanced needs anymore. I agree that nowadays situations are more complex because of our changed consumption habits. I think that in the future, even marketing professionals might have serious problems to name those needs and motives which drives us to buy new products, because products are developing so fast. In my opinion, new products with unforeseen features will push new needs to pop up in the future. Who knows? Structure of your blog text was working. Links to the sources, were convincing and useful as well.

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