Consumer needs refer to the desire of human action which marketers try to recognize, stress, fulfill and in which promotional activities are put into action whereas consumer wants are the desire of services or products which are not essential but which customers would like to have access to.
The traditional marketers understanding embraces that a business enterprise should focus on long-term consumer fulfillment through a well-organized actions that allows a business enterprise to achieve its profit aim consequently long term association with the consumers is considered necessary by any enterprise since it will ensure profit making which can only be achieved through coordination between internal and external parties. The marketer’s traditional understanding is based on the society’s culture, customers and the ways of life.
Various theories have been developed describing both consumer needs and wants. According to Maslow’s (1954) theory on hierarchy of needs, there are five distinct classes of needs varying from basic needs which exists at the time of birth to more intricate secondary needs which become essential only when the basic needs have been attained. The most important category of these needs is the physiological needs which ought to be met first. They include water, food, clothing, shelter etc
Secondly the safety needs such as personal security, health and well-being and financial security follow after the fulfillment of physiological needs. In a scenario where economic safety is not available as a result of economic calamities and absence of job opportunities these second level needs display themselves through different ways such accounts for saving, protection against biased authority, insurance policies etc hence the marketer should ensure these safety needs have been observed to maximize profit and consumer satisfaction. Maslow third level of hierarchical needs depicts that social belonging is to be observed. This is to be enhanced by the marketer who is to create a good rapport with the costumer by ensuring effective communication and support scheme.
Social belonging is then followed by esteem which ensure that the marketer self-worth is presented to the consumer and hence enables him/her to retain the customers since they have been able to put trust in their product or service provider in terms of being safe and useful for consumption. Finally self-actualization such as personal development tops the hierarchal needs. Some marketers have been able to identify that some consumers are not able to easily open up to their secondary needs
Another theory of the marketers understanding on the consumer needs and wants is the Blackwell theory which involves various levels that a consumer follows before making a purchase on a product or commodity. Firstly, awareness is created to the consumer through various marketing channels and through which the consumer internalizes on the various product hence comparison occurs between the previous experience on the product and the expectation. In this stage the marketer should provide adequate information about the product he or she is offering so as to enhance consumer’s acceptability to the enterprise product this can is achieved by the marketer who ought to ensure regular and proper exposure of the information to the consumer. This information is to be packaged in such a way that it is well understood.
In accordance to Howard sheth theory states the process affecting the buyer’s behavior both before and during the time of product purchase. It stresses on three crucial elements namely consumer notion, learning and consumer attitude. The theory depicts that the consumer makes a decision on what product to purchase which occurs as a result of comparison of more than one product or service which is influenced by social and commercial sources
Consequently a decision making process follows after weighing out options thus the marketer should avail external influence to the consumer which is achieved through different ways such as attractive branding of the product to capture the consumers attention hence achieving product consideration which leads to purchase Consumer needs and wants are influenced by different factors i.e sociological factors, economic factors and physiological factors.
Income influences the consumer purchasing capability i.e. the higher the consumer income, the higher the purchasing power and the lower the income, the lower the purchasing power
Customers credit availability. When a consumer has higher accessibility to credit he or she tends to buy commodities which are more durable
Liquid cash possession and consumer income expectation. When a consumer has access to liquid cash, he or she tends to purchase more of a product as compared to when the liquid cash is unavailable
Social class. Marketers understands that a consumer’s social class have a major effect on the kind and quantity of the goods bought.
Culture. It has an extreme effect on the consumers’ needs and wants hence marketers strategise on culture related commodities so as to ensure that their products are accepted according to customs and beliefs of the aimed consumers.
Reference. This refer to the people who had previously bought the products. They have a great impact on potential consumer’s decision hence a marketer ought to provide the best services and products to ensure inflow of customers.
Consumer perception. Many consumers perceive that products associated with high prices tend to be of high quality over others hence the marketer tends to conform to the consumer expectations
Consumer motivation. The product consumer is guided by some aims he or she wants to fulfill needs hence he or she tends to put some actions into place
Contemporary consumer behavior which is the tendency of how persons tend to plan on how to use their available resources have proven to be a puzzling task to different marketers due to the difference on people’s needs and wants. It involves decision making of a personnel when he or she is involved in acquisition, usage or disposal of the products or services. This process is determined by both consumer’s fulfillment and resources available for spending. Understanding why a customer makes a purchase is an important role in business failure to which an enterprise will find it hard to meet up the consumer needs and wants which has the positive roles such as:
Understanding consumer buying behavior helps the marketers identify and predict buying trends of consumers. This enables product providers to identify not only the goods purchased but also when and where the purchase are made from. The contemporary consumer behavior enables the marketer to figure the product utilization process i.e. before purchase, during purchase and after purchase behaviors also awareness of the consumer behavior enables marketers to establish and hold consumers. This exhibits itself by, when a consumer is contented with the product he or she tends to purchase the same commodity over and over again hence the product ought to be advertised by marketers in a way that will influence the consumer to purchase the commodity this can be achieved through observing consumers behavior during purchase or making a decision on purchase.
In addition it helps in understanding the determinants affecting consumers buying behavior. This will enable marketers to provide the required products and services to the right consumers such factors include individual factors, cultural control and physiological influence. If the marketers do not understand the determinants that might influence consumers, they will not achieve their aim of persuading the consumer to buy the product or will provide low standards of the consumer’s demands thus understanding of consumers behavior will aid in forecasting buyers purchasing behavior to a considerate level
Familiarizing with contemporary consumer behavior also aids the marketers in maximizing sale of commodities and establish intensive marketing plans. These can be classified into three categories i.e. taste and preference of the consumer, consumer behavior and knowledge about the product. Putting into consideration the consumers taste and preference, enables marketers to avail relevant products and services that meets the consumer demands. Additionally the marketer should understand buyers since it is portrayed that consumers with little amount of income tend to utilize the highest percentage of their income in purchasing their basic needs whereas those with high income amounts do not spend all their earnings in purchasing of products instead they tend to save some of their remaining amount of money finally, acquisition on product information by the consumer must be known to the marketer for instance majority of the consumers tend to purchase products which they are familiar to.
Also, it enables the marketer to recognize the consumers ruling to dump off a good or service. This is of great significance to the marketer since he or she is able to strategies on ways of how to rectify on what the consumer disliked in the product or service and it can be achieved through a follow up on the consumer’s feedback after product consumption Furthermore, explanatory variables to the consumer behavior are specified this facilitates the creation of suitable models that will promote the follow up, initiation of improved strategies that will enable the marketers curb the dispensation of their products by the consumer and also determine the relationship between the variables.
In conclusion marketers’ traditional understanding of consumer needs and wants and contemporary consumer behavior are of great importance to the marketers and respective organization in captivating consumer consumption hence marketers should be cautious during product and service advertisement in fulfilling the enterprise goals. Marketers should ensure that they conform to the immediate environment because the consumer interest is not only in the market structure but also their needs and behavior because the consumer fulfillment can only be achieved when his or her desires have been met hence the marketers should ensure that they are well conversant with the heterogeneity of both consumer needs and wants. This can be achieved by enterprise providing a platform where consumers can air any dissatisfaction which might arise thus enabling the enterprise to maintain and attract more customers thus increasing their profit gain,
(Hauser, Tellis and Griffin, 2006, pp. 687)
(Mitchell, Colin, 2002, pp 99–105)
(Rosenthal and Capper 2006, pp. 215)
(Nickels, W.G. 1987, pp 179)
(Gilligan & Wilson 2003, p 53)
(Blois and Walter, 1997, pp. 53-64)
(Borden, 1964, pp. 2-7)
(Wind, 1978, pg.137)
(Chhibber & Mujumdar, 1999, pp 209–238)
(Hippel, 1982, pp. 117)