How to Manage Motivational Conflicts in Consumer Decision-making

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Sarah Daghman
Lecturer, Russian Federation

How to Manage Motivational Conflicts in Consumer Decision-making

Consumer behavior is of course driven by thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and awareness which have a powerful influence on the motivation of a consumer to make a purchase or not. A buying decision can involve more than one motivation. Consumers find themselves quite often in situations in which different motivations, combinations of positive and negative ones, conflict with each other. Marketers need to take these conflicting motivations into consideration to reduce the impact of these conflicting motivations, create more value for the consumers, meet their needs, provide possible solutions to these conflicts, and design effective marketing communications campaigns.

What is a Motivational Conflict of a Consumer?
A motivational conflict is a situation in which a consumer is driven to make a decision based on conflicting goals. Positive and negative reinforcements form the foundation of consumers' motivation to act and make decisions. Marketers must identify any motivational conflicts and try to provide solutions for them. This will increase the chances of selling the product or service they are offering.

Types Of Motivational Conflict of Consumers
There are three types of motivational conflict:
  1. AN APPROACH APPROACH MOTIVATIONAL CONFLICT.
    Here the consumer struggles between two desirable alternatives which are equally as attractive as each other and the consumer can only choose one. The more equal this attraction, the greater the conflict is.
    For example, a consumer wants to buy a car and he has decided that he likes two cars, but he only has enough money to buy one of them. This will create an internal conflict and some anxiety about making the correct decision. In such cases, the consumer must choose one option from among the available alternatives. Unless there is a clear winner in the consumer mind, he will feel a sense of loss for not being able to "have it all".
    To solve an Approach-Approach conflict, marketers must focus on using incentives to swing to side with their product or service over other competing products or services and make it the 'obvious' winner, and reduce the sense of loss that the customer would otherwise feel for not selecting a competing product or service.
  2. AN APPROACH AVOIDANCE MOTIVATIONAL CONFLICT.
    This occurs when the consumer is attracted to purchase a product or service, but a negative motivational conflict associated with the acquisition of this product leads to potentially not making the purchase.
    For example, Most people like to eat chocolate, sweets, and fast food, but the negative health consequences associated with them cause many of them to refrain from purchasing these products.
    To solve an Approach-Avoidance conflict, marketers must offer ways to minimize the impact of the negative aspect of the acquisition of the product. A good option to mitigate the downside is to provide complementary products or services. For example, providing new products that are healthier with fewer calories and develop an effective marketing campaign designed to point out that the products are healthy products or healthier products.
  3. AN AVOIDANCE AVOIDANCE MOTIVATIONAL CONFLICT.
    This occurs when the consumer has to decide between two options that are both equally undesirable. The choices are said to be negative in relation to certain consumer personal traits.
    For example, When a consumer's mobile phone breaks, this conflict may occur. The person may neither want to spend money on a new phone, nor pay to have the old one repaired, nor go without one.
    In this case, the marketer can reduce the conflict by giving some suggestions in the decision-making process to help the customer make a decision in their favor.
⇨ When you're positioning your product or service do you consider potential motivational conflicts your customers might face? Do you have additional tips on how to reduce them?

Source:
Yakup Durmaz. et al ( 2011), "A Theoretical Approach to the Strength of Motivation in Customer Behavior", Global Journal of Human Social Science, Vol. 11(10).

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