Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Databases Don't Measure Motivation

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Databases Don't Measure Motivation

Article excerpt

Automated persuasion is the Holy Grail of quantitatively biased data base designers. However, data base histories are, at best, probabilistic estimates of customer behavior and do not make use of more sophisticated qualitative motivational profiling tools. While usually absent from web designer thinking, qualitative motivational profiling can be integrated into data base designs. However, qualitative profiling would require that designers add to their repertoire a set of qualitative motivational profiling tools. Clearly the quantitative or qualitative tool must fit the task. This contemporary confusion is corrected by separating the marketing and market research tools into quantitative or qualitative applications according to the proper roles they play and the tasks they must engage. Key Words: Motivational Profiling, Data Warehousing, Database Mining, Content Analysis, Data Base Design, Marketing Strategy, Qualitative Market Research, Quantitative Market Research, Customer Behavior, and Micro-Demographics


Television entertains us with detectives Lt. Columbo and Gil Grissom of CSI. These shows routinely demonstrate a basic fact: No behavior of any kind occurs unless there are three essential ingredients: motive, opportunity, and means. If detectives have these three sets of facts they catch the bad guys. If marketers have these three sets of facts, they catch customers.

* Motive measures why people want what they want (e.g., the belief that it is good)

* Opportunity measures access to what they want (e.g., can they find it?)

* Means measures the ability to obtain what they want (e.g., can they afford it?)

Customers are definitely subject to these three key ingredients of customer behavior that apply to any marketing campaign. No campaign can be successful without a clear understanding of all three. In this essay I argue that the right tools to profile all three components are crucial to solid decision-making information. This requires knowing and utilizing qualitative data and analysis in an enterprise completely dominated by numerical values.

Keep in mind that motive, opportunity, and means apply to any individual, in any context. While all three are necessary in the art of persuasion, it is important to note that motive is of a different logical type. Originally discovered by me in my role of psychotherapist and now utilizing those three components, (motive opportunity and means) as a corporate consultant, the major common denominators of human behavior are linguistic. Motivation is delivered, cognitively speaking, by language mechanisms. Today's technology allows analysis of those mechanisms. Most experts consider those mechanisms to be qualitative.

Motivation is not limited to marketing. Motivation works across any and all disciplines where people are involved. Anyone who is a boss or has a boss is interested in motivation and how it works. That means virtually all of us are involved in motivational issues. Anyone who is a customer or has customers has a vested interest, which again means virtually all of us. Anyone who is or was a child has the same vested interest in what is or isn't motivating. We can't avoid being involved in motives any more than we can avoid breathing. For the qualitative expert, motivation seems to be a special case of qualitative phenomena in that it has clearly defined mechanisms of action, language mechanisms.

In the context of marketing, to insure that a marketing effort will succeed, marketing executives must have accurate information about these three determinants of customer behavior in any given market. That means selecting the right kind of tools, in terms of the roles the tools play, to generate decision making-information that will lead to marketing success.

Naturally, success in marketing depends heavily on high quality research. Researchers need to know how these three components set the framework for evaluating the most effective use of modern research tools. …

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