Thursday, September 15, 2011

Consumer Needs – Functional or Emotional?

Consumers (and customers) have needs that marketers and businesses seek to satisfy.    For consumer goods, the needs are often good quality (product Woman With Shopping Bagperformance) at a decent price. In business services, customers need on-time delivery, low price, and quality of service.  Each of your brand’s attributes are weighed by how well they fit a set of needs.  Sounds simple, right?

Well, maybe not quite so simple.  Consumers and customers have both functional needs and emotional needs.  Functional needs can be clearly articulated and while strong drivers of consumer choice, they are generic, and hard to own by a brand.  While a customer might demand a low price because that fills a rational and functional need, the stronger emotional need may be “keeping my job by not allowing my division to go over its budget” and can be satisfied in many different ways.  “Organic” label on food products is a functional benefit  for some moms when shopping, while “keeping my family safe from harm” is an emotional need. 

Delivering only functional category benefits makes it harder to build a lasting connection and survive in any competitive category.  A cereal that “tastes great” will be unique only until the next great tasting cereal arrives.  Walmart has the lowest prices……until the dollar store opens up down the street.   Your company has the best on-time delivery..…until your truck broke down last month.  

Satisfying emotional needs – safety, security, acceptance, and love – builds a stronger brand and stronger customer relationship.   You find these needs buried beneath the logical, rational and top of mind lists people carry in their heads.  Consumers don’t talk about their emotional needs, especially to strangers, or vendors, or often focus group moderators.  They want to appear logical and rational.  You have to get close enough to your customer to get to know them on a deeper level. 

Once the functional needs of your customer are satisfied (and they must be satisfied first), then satisfying emotional needs is the path to building a lasting relationship.


Packaging Design said...

Very helpful information.
Packaging Design

Tung Seng said...

There are few functional needs in marketing.
Consumer Products, Foods, Computers.For information Transportation services please visit at Jasico website.