Friday, September 9, 2016

What Motivates Your Customer?

Let's start by thinking about what motivates marketers to perform their jobs. One might be inclined to say it is the mix of right brain (intuitive/creative) and left brain (analytical) activity that motivates that person. Or perhaps it is the project variety. Or the camaraderie of other marketers. (After all, they are more interesting than accountants, right?) But what motivates a salesperson? The opportunity to interact with other people and schmooze? Or, more likely, it is the ability to earn a lot of money. How about a market researcher? Is it the "aha" of discovering a previously masked pattern or enabling an important insight? Or perhaps it is the Zen of crunching numbers and building charts. How about for a graphic designer at an ad agency? Is it the fun environment? Perhaps it is the freedom of creative expression. Or maybe it is the pride of seeing one's finished work in the marketplace. What motivates a direct marketer? Or a digital marketer? Or a product manager? Or a brand manager? Or a brand licensing manager? Or a trade marketing specialist? It could one of a hundred different things. Or it could just be the security of a regular paycheck for work that one can perform with some level of competence. 

Now flip this question over to your customers. What motivates a person to buy a specific watch? Or a car? Or a painting? Or a bottle of wine? Or a pair of shoes? Or jewelry? Or a scarf? Or patio furniture? Or a book? Or orange juice?

Let's just take watches. Is a watch a timepiece for him or her? Is it a status symbol? Is it jewelry? Does it need to match a particular outfit? Does it communicate a specific lifestyle? Or a specific personality? Is it for a specific use? Does it accompany one scuba diving? Does it need to be a specific color? Does it need to indicate how affluent one is? Does it help one not to miss appointments? Does it need to work across wardrobes and occasions (including formal and informal) or does the person have a different watch for every type of wardrobe or occasion? Does it need to be a smart watch? Does it need to perform multiple functions beyond telling time? Or is it just a pretty object and an impulse purchase?

Now lets take cars. Is the car purchased with a specific sized family in mind or is it mostly a personal vehicle? Is price an object? Is fuel economy or gas mileage important? Does it need to convey a specific personality or lifestyle? Does it need to be fun to drive? Does it need to look sexy? Will it be a status symbol or just a simple mode of transportation? Is it important that it has a specific range? Does it need to haul a trailer or carry heavy loads? Will it be used for work? How many miles will it put on in day, a month or a year? Is color important? Is passenger capacity important? Is storage capacity/trunk space important? Does it need to carry canoes, kayaks, bicycles and other recreational gear? What special amenities or creature comforts are important? GPS? Satellite radio? Heated seats? Moon roof? Self-cleaning windows? 360 degree cameras? Seats with a back massage function? Automatic parallel parking systems? Does the car need to serve as a self-expression vehicle? If so, what does it need to express? Is it a car for a macho guy or a sophisticated urbane gentleman or a metrosexual? Does it scream "I'm different. Look at me."?

The point of all of this is to point out that purchase motivations can be much more complicated than a superficial explanation would imply. A skilled marketer needs to understand all of the motivations and how they apply to different customer segments and product and service ranges. 

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