Why people motivation is important to marketing

Psychologists have long proposed that people have two types of work need; Motivators and Hygiene Factors.

Workplace motivators include achievement, recognition, responsibility or job interest.

Hygiene factors include salary, status, working conditions, relationship with colleagues and job security.

When hygiene factors are satisfied the response from staff is neutral.  But when hygiene factors are perceived no to be satisfied, the result is satisfaction.  Much of the industrial strife in Britain during the 1970s was due to staff members perceiving that their hygiene needs were not being satisfied either in terms of pay or through demarcation disputes over role and status.

It is motivator needs which provide job satisfaction.

In the Early 1960s, Victor Vroom (no, not the identity of a Marvel superhero) developed his expectancy theory.  This theory argued that different people are motivated by different needs and that they therefore place different values.  Additionally, the effort people put into the completion of any task will be based on what they expect to get out of it.

The key to people motivation is to relate what they get out of completing a task to their expectant needs.

Vroom’s expectancy theory follows the following formula:

  1.  People perceive that effective performance will lead to rewards.
  2. They expect that if they exert effort to a task, that will lead to acceptable performance for which acceptable rewards will be available.
  3. Performance will be based on a person’s skills and abilities; their confidence in doing a job; and the support systems available to them.
  4. Effort and performance lead to rewards
  5. Rewards, if they match the person’s expectations will lead to satisfaction.

Vroom describes need ‘valency’.  People have high valency when they have a strong need for something.  Low valency is indicative of a weak need.  The closer the reward to an individual’s valency, the more motivated they will be to complete the task at hand.

Where high valency exists, rewards will only work if the person believes the task to be achievable.

Also in the early 1960s, McClelland identified three kinds of need people have in their work and career:

  • Achievement: To be responsible for satisfactory outcomes.
  • Power: The ability to control and influence
  • Affiliation:  To feel as if the belong to an organisation and they have appropriate relationship status within that organisation.

Which ever is the strongest of these needs will affect and change a person’s behaviour.  So someone with a dominant affiliation need, they will spend most of their time aiming to develop interpersonal skills and relationship status.

If a person is motivated by money, they will put in effort by exceeding their contracted hours, they will look to exceed targets and they will seek financial reward for doing so.

If another member of staff is motivated by power and recognition they will put effort into finding new solutions e.g. a marketing manager finding new markets.  They will look to appoint new distributors and agents in these new markets.  Their rewards for doing so will be promotion and increased status in the organisation.

If a third member of staff is motivated by personal development, they will put effort into learning new skills and discovering new information.  They will put effort into improving process efficiency of speeding up product development.  The reward they will expect is public recognition for their work.

All this needs to be put into a national or cultural context.  For example, in Japan workers are expected to work long hours and there is a very strict organisational hierarchy.  Senior company managers will even adopt adult executives to continue their style and influence.  American workers are expected to work a set working day, so much so that US companies struggled to manage their staff in Spain who expected a siesta.

The different needs of individuals also need to be placed in an organisational context. ‘The way we do things round here”.  So, Japanese firms are often criticised for extremely strict adherence to work and quality protocols.

You also have to recognise that people are individuals, some will be disinterested whatever rewards you dangle in front of them.  Often these are people who are trapped in the wrong job or they are carrying out a task for which they are poorly equipped.

So what has all this to do with marketing?  Well, marketing is no longer seen as the purview of the marketing department.  It is a job for all the stakeholders within an organisation.  It is part of the role of marketing managers to get all of an organisation’s staff to understand their role in dealing with customers and prospects.  They have to get all of the people in an organisation singing from the same hymn sheet.  They have to ensure that the whole organisation is customer-facing and conforming to the corporate vision.

This task requires a good understanding of the motivational forces at play in an organisation and what rewards will motivate individual stakeholders to conform to that vision.