The Psychology of Marketing Needs and Actions

In our always changing society it may seem as if consumers are all over the place with what they want. But human behaviour is guided by basic needs that we are all trying to fulfil, which haven’t changed that much over time.

Consumers might change the way they, gather information and make purchases, but their basic psychological needs and their associated causes of action are constants that marketers can count on.

So how can we motivate an audience and base marketing on making sure their needs are met?

To understand consumer needs and actions, we can look to psychology, specifically Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which can be directly applied to consumer behaviour and brand marketing.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is psychology theory on human motivation by Abraham Maslow that states that there are five stages to human needs.

The first stages are our basic physiological needs, being food, water, warmth, and sleep. The next level of our basic needs is safety, we want to have some security in our lives whether it’s or jobs, shelter or our health.

After basic needs we have psychological needs, this include belonginess and love, which we can find in intimate relationships, friendships. Another psychological need is our esteem, which is our feeling of self-confidence or accomplishment.

The top tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy is self-actualisation, these are our self-fulfilment needs that see us seeking our goals, dreams and experiences.

How Can Maslow’s Hierarchy Inform Marketing?

When you apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to marketing it can be used to determine which need your product or service is providing a solution for and how to effectively appeal to the motivation drivers of your consumer.

You can specifically target your marketing to appeal to a consumers need for self-esteem, fulfilment, status or simply their need to survive. As in the image above, your brands products or services can be aligned with a consumer need.

Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs will help you be strategic towards providing motivation to the consumer, so they act on that need.

For example, high end fashion brands appeal to esteem needs, as their products can help consumers feel a boost their self-esteem and can create a sense of status in the consumers’ mind.

Similarly, understanding that a consumers may be in the market for a luxury car to fulfil a self-actualisation need, with the car being a status symbol can be used to inform winning marketing campaigns.

Based on the psychology of needs and actions, you can create emotionally compelling marketing that appeals to specific needs of your consumer and motivates them to take the next step.

Where does your business sit on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

In an overcrowded marketplace, brands that understand consumers needs and appeal to them will be able to create insightful marketing that makes an emotional connection with the audience, inspiring action.

While Maslow’s Theory has been kicking around since the 1940s, it is still relevant today in using psychological insight to motivate and drive consumer actions.


Understanding human needs can make your business more responsive to what consumers are looking for when they need it most

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