How Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Can Improve Your Marketing

Marketing is all about tapping into human needs and desires so that you can motivate your potential customers to buy what you sell. In order to tap into those needs and desires, you have to first understand what they are and, probably the most famous model for examining this is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a model for understanding human motivation and breaks down the needs and desire of humans into 5 categories:

  • Physiological or the most basic human needs like food, water, and air for survival are at the base of maslow’s needs pyramid.
  • Safety is one step above physiological but still describes needs, not wants, and includes things like shelter or health.
  • Love and belonging is next on the pyramid and moves into what humans want versus what they need and refers to friendships, romantic relationships, and familial relationships and intimacy within those relationships.
  • Esteem refers to the human desire for self-confidence and the respect of others.
  • Self-actualization refers to things like moral development, creativity, and problem solving ability.

According to Maslow’s model, all human motivation is based on fulfilling one of these 5 needs and people must work their way up the pyramid and fulfill their most basic needs first before they have time to worry about fulfilling their higher needs.

So, what does this mean for you as an entrepreneur trying to market your startup or small business? It means that you must align your marketing with fulfilling the correct need level for your target customers and that you must be cognizant of matching the need level of your product or service with the appropriate need level for that market. In more straight-forward terms, if someone is working on fulfilling their safety needs you cannot successfully market a product or service to them that will help with self-actualization. They’re simply not there yet. 

It all goes back to aligning your marketing message and tactics with the target customer and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one way to help you understand that customer.


Now I want to hear from you:

  • Which need level does the product or service you sell appeal to and how?
  • Is your marketing strategy in line with targeting customers who are working on fulfilling that need level?
  • How does your messaging help them see that what you offer will help fulfill that need and motivate them to buy?

Let me know in the comments section below.

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