If you aren’t familiar with Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, here is the low down:
Maslow (an American Psychologist) believed that every human has a set of needs, which are tiered in terms of importance (and often visually represented in a 5 level pyramid).
- Biological and physiological needs like air, food, drink, shelter, warmth and sleep.
- Safety needs like protection from the elements, security, order, law and stability.
- Love and belongingness needs like friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance.
- Esteem needs like dignity, independence, desire for respect and status.
- Self- actualisation needs like realising personal potential, self-fulfillment and peak experiences.
Maslow believed your basic needs have to be met before one can start contemplating higher needs.
As marketers we understand that humans have needs. Our job is to identify those needs and provide solutions.
This is the problem we face:
In the 21st century many of our basic needs have already been met. The lower end of the pyramid isn’t the focus of our attention any longer.
- We have a house with a bed and a fridge with food in it.
- We live in a society that provides a set of laws, which govern our behaviour and this creates a sense of comfort.
- We have family and friends (even if the majority of those engagements are via Social Media) who take care of our need to belong.
It’s the top end of the pyramid that is the new untapped market.
- Independence, desire for respect and, above all, STATUS.
- Reaching our full potential and being the best we can be.
Think about it for second – 15 years ago you would battle to find a gym in your area. Visit any gym nowadays, and regardless of the time of day, you will find it packed. The people visiting the gym are at the top of the human needs’ pyramid, looking to fulfill their self-actualization needs. Given enough time and effort you can look like a Greek God (if that is what you aspire to be) 🙂
Brands that are winning nowadays don’t sell products. They sell STATUS and self-actualization.
If you can tap into the ‘how can this make me become better, faster, richer and more likeable’, you win.
The good news is that the one thing that all humans do, regardless of their hierarchy of needs, is share stories.
Your business should shoot at the top end of the pyramid and do it with a story. Better yet, deliver your story via email.
Until next time