Consumer behavior and motivation are connected in various ways, the most obvious of which is the fact that consumer behavior is primarily dictated by motivation. When consumers spend money on goods or services, there is something that motivates them to do so. This could be an already existing want or need, or it could be due to effective advertising.
No matter what the purchase, consumer behavior and motivation are always linked, as there is always a motivation for buying something. Even with items or services a customer doesn't necessarily want, there is still a motivation for buying. Consumers pay their power bills to avoid sitting in the dark. Consumers likewise purchase clothing, cosmetics, new cars, or homes because they are motivated to do so in some way.
Sometimes consumer behavior and motivation are practical. There are some things people buy no matter what because they are a basic necessity. Food, water, power, gas, and clothing are needed for normal everyday life. In these cases, the motivation to purchase stems from the human desire to live and be comfortable. They are purchased without much thought and consideration because there is no other choice.
At other times consumer behavior and motivation are much more complicated and personal. While many people will want to purchase a car at some point, the type of car is decided upon by more personal motivations. A parent with three kids may want to buy a minivan because they are practical, safe, and get good gas mileage. A teenager may want a shiny red sports car.
These motivations are typically about more than just finding a good deal or finding something that will do the job adequately enough. Advertising is designed to make consumers crave a product. It sets up certain items as status symbols and elicits certain feelings in the minds of consumers to influence them when making a decision. Corporate branding comes into play as well, as various companies attempt to establish themselves as the go-to brand for specific feelings, needs, or services.
An example of this is the sports car mentioned above. The young teen may want to purchase the car not only because he likes the color or because the price is right, but because it positions him with a certain status. Teen boys who drive a sports car may be portrayed in advertising and in the media as hip, popular, and attractive. The powerful engine of most sports cars also acts to exhibit the boy's own sense of power and growing independence as an emerging adult.
These ideas are not just developed spontaneously in the minds of consumers, but are placed there over time through effective advertising and through movies and other media outlets. Marketing and advertising companies are experts at playing into consumer behavior and motivation, and they use this to their advantage when positioning a brand in the marketplace. It is their jobs to create want in consumers so that they will be motivated to buy.