Marketers need to understand the criteria consumers are using in making their buying decisions to be able to compete successfully in the marketplace. Once marketers understand this behavior, they can formulate marketing plans designed to help their product or service be the one that consumers choose, which should lead to an increased bottom line for the business. In addition, once marketers understand what is driving consumption, they may also be able to influence buying decisions, creating a demand for a product or service.
Consumer needs are broader than that of consumers simply buying necessary items in which to survive. Consumers may “need” to buy for any variety of reasons, such as prestige and esteem, safety and security or for love and affiliation reasons, according to Reference for Business. For example, women's perfume and men’s cologne advertisements very often imply that the wearer will receive love by using a certain scent. One need not go too far to see how prestige products are marketed, especially ones that boldly advertise the product name or logo. Think Coach and Tiffany & Co. for a couple of examples. Prestige products appear to go against the typical demand curve of lowering prices to compete for buyers. With luxury items, the higher the price, the more the prestige that is linked to the product. The need to achieve something is another reason people buy products. The parent who buys his son the most expensive Little League bat, the person who attends a self-help seminar or the cook who buys the best knives are examples of people who are purchasing products or services to excel.
Many psychological reasons go into why people buy, and if marketers know these reasons, they can capitalize on them. Some consumers buy in order to satisfy themselves, while others buy for the opinion of others. For example, a shoe company who is appealing to consumers who want to satisfy their own needs will advertise the comfort of the shoe, whereas a company that is concerned with the consumer who is trying to please others might focus on how good the consumer will look in the shoe. These shoes will be displayed differently in stores. Values are another way that marketers package their goods. As the “green” movement gains momentum, consumers will see more products that speak to being organic and that help the consumer to maintain an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Typically the more expensive the product, the more the consumer will have the need to comparison shop. For expensive products, such as cars, marketers need to provide enough information so that consumers can weigh the benefits of the particular product or service. For low-end purchases, such as a can of tomato sauce, often product placement and price are more important than product benefits.
Motivation is another factor that marketers can use when promoting their product. When a consumer is looking for a pain relief product, for example, while price may be one issue, the main concern for consumers is how fast and effective the product will get rid of the pain. These consumers are often willing to pay more for a perceived brand that will work, according to Reference for Business.
Creating a need for a product or service is something marketers do all the time. Movie theaters have been promoting popcorn and sodas with the movie for decades. Home shopping channels that sell their products 24 hours a day often create a need for their products and satisfy a consumer need for human interaction by having live people with whom consumers can talk. Once marketers figure out why people are buying, they can be very successful.