Marketing with Maslow: Understanding the Needs of Your Market

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has become a landmark in the study of human behavior. He could not have imagined that his conception, completed in 1943, would continue to influence the world for the next 65 years.

Abraham Maslow said that people act out of feelings caused by emotional needs which have not been satisfied. We are compelled to try and resolve those needs in a certain set order. Second tier needs follow those that are of prime importance to the individual. Third tier needs follow second level ones, and so forth.

Our first level of concern is our physiological needs. These are the basic needs that keep us alive. Our next concern is safety, followed by our social needs. Then we concern our self with self esteem, and finally self actualization. Any person who has an understanding of Maslow’s theory will understand the ease of fitting this into to a marketing context. When you attempt to make a sale you’re not only selling the product, the idea and image of the product, your selling the result of the product, and yourself or company as well. Essentially you are fulfilling at least one of the needs in the hierarchy.

The first rule of marketing a product is to know your customer’s needs and desires. Make sure your product meets your customer’s basic needs first. It needs to be effective at what is supposed to do and safe to use. Once that is addressed, you can gear you sales pitch to the customer’s desires.

The first step to being successful in any marketing endeavor is to get a firm grasp on the psychographic motivators that you will be most appealing to. Specifically, which need on the hierarchy is your product going to satisfy? How will it better serve this need, and how can you prove to your potential customers that it can truly be to their benefit?

It is very important to understand the need and requirement of your potential customer. If the customer comes to you looking for the product he requires then your job is half-done! It is very difficult to understand and assess the needs of an unknown customer through cold calls.

The best way to conquer this obstacle is to simply talk; something that every marketing professional is taught from the start of their career. Talk about something aside from the what you are trying sell, change subjects frequently if the potential customer doesn’t seem interested, you’ll soon hit upon a subject that you call tell is interesting to the other person. It doesn’t matter what the subject of conversation is about – the weather, sports, kids, family, or hobbies. Chatting in a friendly, familiar way will give you important clues about their needs.

The key to understanding your market is figure out what drives them to purchase. If you can predict what that they need to fulfill their needs, this exercise will give your company a sales approach that motivates a multitude of customers. The key is to research the need of the individual. This will help you identify what approach you need to take to address a larger market.

Maslow’s theory remains the basis for most management practices today. However, it can be equally successful when applied to marketing practices. The key, as always, is to know how to help your customer decide that your product will change their life.