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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid

The importance of understanding your customer base is crucial to developing marketing communications that accurately speak to your audience. In order for a customer to be moved to make a purchase or utilize a service, whether it is consciously or a subconsciously, there needs to be a motivational impulse, some stimuli that catalyzes action.This is more important now as post-pandemic, 50% of consumers have become more aware of their motivations according to a research study conducted by Accenture.

So let’s dive in to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a “five-tier model of human needs” that has been around since 1943. Each of the 5 levels, often pictures as levels of a pyramid, represents a different motivation and they are as follows:

Physiological Needs

Products that appeal to these basic needs are billed as essential to survival. Food is essential, shelter is essential, luxury footwear… not so much. When appealing to this need, messaging should be authentic as consumers can usually see when you’re over-dramatizing.

Safety Needs

After humans have their basic needs met, they obviously are driven to protect that state, not just for themselves but for others they care about as well. If your product(s) offer some level of protection against elements, fraud, harm, etc., appealing to this need is important. 

Belonging Needs

Humans, for the most part, are social creatures. If the pandemic zoom get-togethers taught us anything, it’s that people can be affected negatively by isolation. Especially now, products or solutions that can appeal to this need are in-demand.

Esteem Needs

If you have a product that makes customers feel good about themselves, you would likely be appealing to the need for their esteem. Whether it’s a status symbol like a luxury car or a vanity enhancement like a cosmetic procedure, being able to appeal to human ego can increase your product’s relevance.

Actualization Needs

Humans have a need to evolve their sense of self. Professional development, education, and financial status can all appeal to these actualization needs. Speaking to this need can add a value to your product or service that makes customers see it as an investment in themselves.

It’s important to note that one product can appeal to more than just one need. Fine-tuning messaging can help you target separate audiences. For example, a car advertisement can appeal to esteem by billing itself as a luxury experience that elevates status or it can appeal to safety by highlighting safety features. Understanding the motivation of your particular target audience can help you to deliver the right message that will speak to them.