Internal Influences: Motivation and Roles


Motivation relates to our desire to achieve a certain outcome. Many internal factors we have already discussed can affect a customer’s desire to achieve a certain outcome but there are others. For instance, when it comes to making purchase decisions, customers’ motivation could be affected by such issues as financial position (e.g., Can I afford the purchase?); time constraints (e.g., Do I need to make the purchase quickly?); overall value (e.g., Am I getting my money’s worth?); and perceived risk (e.g., What happens if I make a bad decision?).

Marketing Implications:

Motivation is also closely tied to the concept of involvement, which relates to how much effort the consumer will exert in making a decision. Highly motivated consumers will want to get mentally and physically involved in the purchase process. Not all products have a high percentage of highly involved customers (e.g., customers spend little time shopping for milk) but marketers who market products and services that may lead to high level of consumer involvement should prepare options that will be attractive to this group. For instance, marketers should make it easy for consumers to learn about their product (e.g., information on website, free video preview) and, for some products, allow customers to experience the product (e.g., free trial) before committing to the purchase.


Roles represent the position we feel we hold or others feel we should hold when dealing in a group environment. These positions carry certain responsibilities, yet it is important to understand that some of these responsibilities may, in fact, be perceived and not spelled out or even accepted by others. In support of their roles, consumers will make product choices that may vary depending on which role they are assuming. As an illustration, an employee responsible for selecting snack food for an office party which the company’s CEO will be attending, may choose higher quality snack products than that person would normally purchase for their family.

Marketing Implications:

Advertisers often show how the benefits of their products aid consumers as they perform certain roles. Typically, the underlying message of this promotional approach is to suggest that using the advertiser’s product will help raise one’s status in the eyes of others while using a competitor’s product may have a negative effect on status.