The buying process starts with need recognition—the buyer recognizes a problem or need. The buyer senses a difference between his or her actual state and some desired state. The need can be triggered by internal stimuli when one of the person’s normal needs—hunger, thirst, sex—rises to a level high enough to become a drive. A need can also be triggered by external stimuli. Lucy might have felt the need for a new hobby when her busy season at work slowed down, and she thought of cameras after talking to a friend about photography or seeing a camera ad. At this stage, the marketer should research consumers to find out what kinds of needs or problems arise, what brought them about, and how they led the consumer to this particular product.
By gathering such information, the marketer can identify the factors that most often trigger interest in the product and can develop marketing programs that involve these factors.