Motivational research attempts to discover
why people act the way they do and what factors motivate
them to adopt particular attitudes or behaviour in a given
set of circumstances. The results of motivation research
can give vital clues as to the most effective way in which
to promote the product.
Modern cigarette commercials are a good
example of motivational research at work. Psychological
field tests are used to discover what personal qualities
consumers think it is attractive to possess and advertisements
are then designed that suggest that by smoking X brand
of cigarettes those very qualifies, e.g. courage, strength,
sex appeal, etc., will be instilled in the smoker.
Most industrial market research is based
on the assumption that the respondent is a rational individual
whose eventual buying decisions are swayed by strictly
commercial considerations, e.g. price, delivery, service,
technical specifications or product features.
There is, however, growing recognition that
industrial buyers, like consumers, may be swayed by personal
or irrational motivations when deciding on a particular
brand of product or whether to buy from certain suppliers.
Thus, it is important to employ research methods which
will give an accurate picture of respondents' true motivations.
Motivational research is of considerable
value because it offers a complete picture of potential
customers' attitudes and behavioural patterns. It should
be remembered, however, that the results are highly subjective
and open to more than one interpretation. It is also expensive
because it is time-consuming and can only be conducted
by personnel trained in clinical psychology.