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Why They Buy Module #3: Motivation to Buy

——   Created by Michael Solomon

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More about this course

To understand motivation is to understand why consumers do what they do. Why do some people choose to bungee-jump off a bridge or compete on reality shows, whereas others spend their leisure time playing chess or gardening? Whether it is to quench a thirst, kill boredom, or attain some deep spiritual experience, we do everything for a reason, even if we can’t articulate what that reason is. We teach marketing students from Day 1 that the goal of marketing is to satisfy consumers’ needs. However, this insight is useless unless we can discover what those needs are and why they exist. A beer commercial once asked, “Why ask why?” In this module

we’ll find out.

The course project

Marketers continue to push the envelope to create spectacles that will increase consumer involvement with their messages:

A British show broadcast a group of skydivers who performed a dangerous jump to create a human formation in the air that spelled out the letters H, O, N, D, and A.

  • Honda built a musical road in Lancaster, PA; grooves in the cement create a series of pitches that play the William Tell Overture when a car drives over them.
  • A New York campaign for Jameson Irish Whiskey projects an ad onto a wall—an operator scans the street for pedestrians who fit the brand’s profile and inserts live text messages directed at them into the display.
  • To promote the 25th anniversary of the Michael Jackson album Thriller, which featured zombies dancing in a music video of the title song, Sony BMG staged a performance in the London Underground. A group of “passengers” suddenly burst into a zombie-like dance before they disappeared into the crowd, and this videotaped scene was posted online. The video inspired similar performances in other countries, and within a week more than a million people had downloaded these films. In a similar stunt for T-Mobile, several hundred commuters at the Liverpool rail station broke into a dance; more than 15 million people watched the performance on YouTube in the following weeks. These (not so) spontaneous flashmobs have become increasingly common.


Can you top these? Imagine that a client hires you to launch a new energy drink. Propose a spectacle you could engineer that would attract potential customers to learn more about your product.

4 Lessons

5 mins
Lesson 3.1: How needs motivate us
8 mins
Lesson 3.2: Important needs for marketers to understand
11 mins
Lesson 3.3: How products engage us
8 mins
Lesson 3.4: How marketing messages engage us

About the instructor

Michael Solomon

Hello, I'm Michael. Here's some background about me and what I do:

Michael “wrote the book” on understanding consumers. Literally. Hundreds of thousands of business students …

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