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It's All About the Hierarchy

Remember that semester you took your Intro to Psychology course? We’re bringing it back today, and applying it to business.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a five-tier theory in Psychology that shows what motivates us as humans…what we need & what we desire.

Starting at the base of the pyramid, we have our physiological needs – the basics, such as food, water and shelter.

As you move up the pyramid, this is where things get interesting for businesses to understand that they have to fit into this pyramid for it to make sense for a consumer to actually care about their business. (How does your business fit into your client’s needs?)

This entire hierarchy is based on the fact that we are primal beings and a lot of our decisions are completely unconscious. Understanding human behavior is only going to help you in your business because you can guide your client to make a decision, which is ultimately what your goal is in all of your marketing.

So that second rung on the ladder is going to be about safety. Essentially, we don’t want to feel like we’re dying constantly. So, does your service or product provide safety, or at least ensure they feel safe and protect their families.

Moving up even further, it's about a sense of belonging and community. Remember, we're tribal beings and we all want to be part of something. Does your business help them feel connected?

The fourth is about esteem. Esteem speaks to prestige, moving up within your own tribe, a sense of accomplishment. In the US, we might value different things than in different societies, but think about the car.

The car that you drive or the car that you wish that you drove. The house that you have, versus the house that you wish you had. The services that you buy, a lot of it is to signal to other people that you are moving up in the world.

The last component is self-actualization. Someone who is trying to buy products or services that are really focused on self-actualization are not in a place where they're still struggling for food and water, so you're speaking to a very different mindset if your product or service is yoga or a creative service that helps you to achieve that last rung.

Sit down and really think about where your product or service fits within Maslow's hierarchy, it's only going to serve you and help you to better understand how your client actually thinks. Marketing is connecting with other human beings…you just have to figure out how.



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