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Take the Guesswork Out of Effective Online Marketing

We all know that person acts because he or she is motivated. A motive (or drive) is a stimulated need that an individual seeks to satisfy. A purchase is rarely the result of a single motive. Aroused needs (motives) activate behaviour, which is shaped by perceptions. Buyer behaviour also changes over of period of time because of changes in income, changes in life-style, changes in social circle, changes in individual motive, changes in global economy and many other factors. An understanding of customer buying behaviour is critically important to the success (or failure) of marketing system in any business.

Influences do change over time, as old patterns gradually give way to the new. Today, in order to have successful marketing we must be alert to these changing patterns and adjust our planning to be in step with, or even a little ahead of, the times.

The important thing to remember is that motives activate people's behaviour and their perceptions determine the course of that behaviour, therefore each individual perceives things his or her own frame of reference.

American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) has formulated a useful theory of motivation in his famous "Hierarchy Of Needs". Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficit needs, the top level is referred to as being needs. While deficit needs can be met, being needs are a continuing driving force. The basic idea of this hierarchy is, that higher needs come into focus only after all needs lower in the pyramid are met. Growth forces result in upward movement on the hierarchy, whereas regressive forces push prepotent needs down in the hierarchy.

A product exist in marketing only if consumers perceive that it will satisfy their wants and that same product is perceived quite differently by different consumers. We may define perception as the meaning we attribute, on the basis of past experiences, to stimuli as received through our five senses. We perceive the shape, colour, sound, feel, smell and taste of stimuli. In physiology, a stimulus is something external that elicits or influences a physiological or psychological activity or response.

A continuous process of selectivity limits our perceptions. Consider that:

  • We perceive only part of what we are exposed to (we may see TV advertising and ignore it, or read magazine and not notice an add).
  • We are exposed to only a small portion of all marketing stimuli (we cannot read every magazine or watch every TV commercial)
  • We retain only part of what we selectively perceive (we may see an ad and later forget it).
  • And we act upon only part of what we retain.