Internal Influences – Motivation

Internal Influences – Motivation

Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University

Motivation is an internal state that drives us to satisfy needs. Motivation is the energizing force that activates behavior. Once we recognize that we have a need, a state of tension exists that drives the consumer to the goal of reducing this tension and eliminating the need. Consequently, only unmet needs motivate.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, for each need there are positives gained and negatives that are avoided by meeting that particular set of needs. Products that are purchased because of a need will satisfy a goal and avoid unwanted consequences. For example, people need to feel secure so they purchase smoke detectors, therefore gaining protection and avoiding loss and fear of fire.

Need Gained


Self-Actualization Creativity, accomplishment Unfulfilled potential
Esteem Pride, recognition, prestige Failure, inadequacy
Social Acceptance, popularity Rejection, embarrassment
Security Safety, protection Loss, danger, fear
Physiological Health, comfort Sickness, discomfort

Positives and Negatives for Each Need (Based on Maslow)

According to McGuire, there are 12 psychological motives, 12 reasons why consumers are motivated to make purchases.

  • 1. Need for consistency
  • 2. Need for attribute causation
  • 3. Need to categorize
  • 4. Need for cues
  • 5. Need for independence
  • 6. Need for self-expression
  • 7. Need for ego-defense
  • 8. Need for reinforcement
  • 9. Need for affiliation
  • 10. Need for modeling
  • 11. Need for novelty
  • 12 Need for Assertion

1. Need for consistency

  • People have a basic desire to have all parts of themselves consistent and they purchase products that fulfill this need. People that listen to country music will purchase products like cowboy boots, heavy duty trucks and pets.

2. Need for attribute causation

  • People have the need to determine who or what causes things to happen to them. For example, some people choose to attribute it to themselves, fate or an outside force like God.

3. Need to categorize

  • Categories allow people to process a large amount of information. Vehicles are categorized into cars, SUV’s, light trucks, heavy duty trucks, van, sporty, mid-size, hybrid, electric and so on. This helps consumers quickly narrow down their choices when purchasing a vehicle.

4. Need for cues

  • Most people will view others’ behavior and infer what they feel and think. Clothing plays an important role in presenting image of a person. People quickly judge others by the clothing they are wearing and the vehicle they drive.

5. Need for independence

  • Americans strive for individuality and self-expression and many products are marketed as “limited edition” or being different and unique
  • The Japanese culture discourages individuality and focuses on affiliation, and behavior that enhances family and culture.

6. Need for self-expression

  • Americans are known for letting others know who and what they are by their extravagant purchases, especially clothing and cars. Who really needs a $1,200 pen? What is that saying about that person?

7. Need for ego-defense

  • The need to defend your identity. An insecure customer will purchase well-known brand names for fear of being labeled socially incorrect.

8. Need for reinforcement

  • People are motivated to act because they are rewarded for doing it. For example, showing off a new diamond ring to your friends creates acceptance and approval.

9. Need for affiliation

  • Affiliation is the need to develop mutually helpful and satisfying relationships with others, which is a critical part of all people’s lives.

10. Need for modeling

  • Conformity and the need to base behavior on that of others. This is the major motivation of children, tweens (8-12 year olds), and especially teenagers-and in their social world conformity mean acceptance.

11. Need for novelty

  • People have variety seeking-behavior and this may be a reason for brand switching and impulse buys, but that depends on the person. People experiencing rapid life changes will seek stability, while people in stable life situations will seek change. The travel industry uses this by changing up their ads and showing adventure vacations where people are actively having fun and some ads showing relaxing vacations where people are swinging in a hammock.

12. Need for Assertion

  • Customer’s need to engage in activities that will increase self-esteem and self-esteem in the eyes of others. Most consumers respond positively to ads that appeal to this need. In an advertisement for a ladies razor, it will say “show off your beautiful legs to your man,” this will appeal to women by showing that the product increases your self-esteem.

Similar topics include:

The Six Living Generations In America

Internal Influences – Personality

Internal Influences – Memory

Internal Influences – Lifestyle and Attitude

Internal Influences – Learning

Internal Influences – Emotion and Perception