Emotional Versus Economic or Rational Buying Motives

Marketers tend to classify motives rather arbitrarily - and with full knowledge that they are multiple and complex and that any classification oversimplifies consumer behavior. However, such classifications like emotional, economic, or rational are used since these aid in developing marketing grids and mixes. In combination, these grids and mixes then provide a basis for analyzing "the confusion in the marketplace."

Emotional product motives are those, which lead the consumer to buy a certain product without carefully considering the reasons for and against the action. Satisfaction of the senses - touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing - is important emotional motivators, as sensory appeals stimulate enjoyment or satisfy desires. Among the hundreds of possible other emotional motives are fear, rest and recreation, pride, sociability, striving, and curiosity.

Economics or rational buying motives include considerations evolving about economy of purchase, handiness in use, durability, utility, dependability, convenience, efficiency in operation or uses, and quality of service offered. Volkswagen`s statement, "It won`t drive you to the poor house," is a classic example.

Buying motives are often classified as emotional or "rational" by the amount of time and thought given to the purchase. This may not be true. An emotional purchase may take a long time as the consumer frets over the impracticality, while another person may buy the item on an impulse basis. The same is true for purchases based on economic motives. In fact, a purchase may involve both rational or economical and emotional motives.

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