“Needs, Wants, and Demands”
The most basic concept underlying marketing is that of human needs. A human need is a state of felt deprivation. Humans gave many complex needs. These include basic physical needs for food, clothing, warmth, and safety; social needs for belonging and affection; and individual needs for knowledge and self-expression. These needs are not invented on Madison Avenue; they are a basic part of the human makeup.
When a need is not satisfied a person will do one of two things—look for an object that will satisfy it or try to reduce the need. People in industrial societies may try to find or develop objects that will satisfy their desires. People in less-developed societies may try to reduce their desires and satisfy them with what is available.
Human wants are the form taken by human needs as they are shaped by culture and individual personality. A hungry person in Bali may want mangoes, suckling pig, and beans. A hungry person in the United States may want a hamburger, French fries, and a Coke. Wants are described in terms of objects that will satisfy needs. As a society evolves, the wants of its members expand. As people are exposed to more objects that arouse their interest and desire, producers try to provide more want-satisfying products and services.
People have almost unlimited wants but limited resources. Thus, they want to choose products that provide the most satisfaction for their money. When backed by buying power, wants become demands.
Listing the demands in a society at a given time is easy. In a single year, 254 million Americans might purchase 67 billion eggs 6 billion chickens, 29 million telephones, 341 billion domestic air-passenger miles, and more then 20 million lectures by college English professors. These and other consumer goods and services lead, in turn, to a demand for more than 150 million tons of steel, 38 million tons of paper, 4 billion tons of cotton, and many other industrial goods. These are but a few of the demands in a $5.3 trillion economy.
Consumers view products as bundles of benefits and choose products that give them the best bundle for their money. Thus, a Ford Fiesta means basic transportation, low price, and fuel economy. A Mercedes means comfort, luxury, and status. Given their wants and resources, people choose the product with the benefits that add up to the most satisfaction.