• Aria Johnson

Problem Recognition

What is Problem Recognition?

Problem Recognition is the first step in the consumer decision process. As business owners and/or marketers, our ability to recognize problems and solve them for our consumers, determines our success. Problem recognition is the result of a discrepancy between ones desired state and an actual state of satisfaction. An actual state is the way an individual perceives their feelings and situation at the present time; while desired state is the way an individual actually wants to feel. Without realizing a problem, there is no need for a consumer to make a decision, thus our ability to recognize these problems and communicate our ability to solve them are vital to our success.

Consumer problems have to states: active or inactive. Active problems are easier to communicate, as they are already known problems and as a marketer we only have to convince the consumers that our product or service addresses the problem “better” or more efficiently. Inactive problems require us as marketers to actually convince our consumers that they have a problem AND market our brand as “better” or more efficient over another.

Active Problem Recognition

The ad shown to the below here, targets an active consumer problem. Consumers are well aware of the large crowds and the headache of deal hunting on Black Friday. This ad addresses the issue immediately and simultaneously offers a resolution to the problem. This ad suggests that one looking for that awesome gift does not have to withstand the awful lines and crowded stores on black Friday, but can visit Verizon any time to receive great service and great deals. The ad even switches a few times with the next slide offering $100 dollars of your gift purchase!

Problem Recognition: Time and Place

Once again we see a great example of how marketers are taking advantage of the current state of society, rushing out and crowding stores to experience massive savings due to the tradition of Black Friday. As the world of ecommerce has grown, marketers target those online users that would rather save and shop online. Using key words such as Black Friday Now or Black Friday All Weekend or even “Skip the Line” are key when targeting this ecommerce era that prefer to shop online, but also want to experience the savings and “hype” of black Friday.

In Conclusion

Business owners and marketers need to be aware of consumer problems they can solve, the ideal consumers that have these problems and which situations cause the problems to occur. Understanding consumer problem recognition can position almost any firm to better succeed and effectively target their audience.


Hawkins, D., Mothersbaugh, D., Best, R. (02/2012). Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy, 12th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

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