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Maslow Might Have Been a Marketer

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In this episode of marketingXP—Maslow Might Have Been a Marketer—Rachel points to Abraham Maslow, creator of the Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs, and calls him a solid marketer because of how closely human needs align with messaging. Listen to the episode for the three important aspects of Maslow’s pyramid and, if you’re looking to impress a client or executive in your life, access the PowerUp for this episode >>>

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] Welcome back for another episode of the marketingXP podcast. I am your host, as always, Rachel Moore. And today’s episode is Maslow might have been a marketer. If you have not heard of Maslow, that would be Abraham Maslow.

[00:00:24] He is the creator of this thing we call Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Now this all chases down to pyramids, y’all. We’re all familiar with pyramids in some way, shape, or form, emphasis on shape. Might be the pyramids of Giza. They might be the food pyramid, which has been totally debunked because, my God, y’all, I do not need six plus helpings of bread every day. We’ve all heard of pyramid schemes. Just think of that friend of yours who keeps asking you to host a party. You know, pyramids abound. We all know them, right?

[00:00:54] But the most important pyramid for marketers as it relates to this podcast and this episode was created by this dude named Abraham Maslow, and he created something called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. So it is a pyramid, basically it’s talking about, look, every human being out there has five levels of needs that they want addressed in order to achieve their full satisfaction as a human being. Now we could wax philosophical about this and realize that well, most people don’t probably achieve all these things.

[00:01:28] Or maybe they do for certain portions of their life. We could get into that. But what I wanna focus on with you today is why Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is important for us marketers. Because this really gets into the who am I writing for, what do they need right now, and how can my marketing message meet them where they’re at. Okay. So gonna cover a few things first of all, and if you go to, it’s got five levels to the pyramid, and as with any pyramid, you’ve got the, the wider base, that’s the bottom level, and then as it goes up, it narrows up to the apex.

[00:02:09] Okay? So we’re working from bottom to top when we talk about this pyramid. So as Maslow developed these hierarchy of needs, and he’s kind of, you know, he’s assessing what does a typical human being need slash want in their lives.

Colorful pyramid with the following levels from bottom to top:
Physiological needs (air, water, food, shelter, etc.)
Safety needs (personal, security, employment, etc.)
Love and belonging (friendship, intimacy, family, etc.)
Esteem (respect, self-esteem, status, etc.)
Self-actualization (desire to become the most one can be)

[00:02:23] Deficiency Needs

[00:02:23] First, let’s cover something that Maslow called the deficiency needs. So he talked about these as, these are things that if they are not present in human’s life, they are deficient. They have a gap that’s can be kind of major for them before one could even try to get to one where one is growing as a human being.

[00:02:44] But the deficiency needs basically are the bottom four tiers of this five tier pyramid. So, again, starting at the bottom, you talk about the physiological needs.

[00:02:53] I want each of you to think about this. If you did not have air, You didn’t have enough oxygen and couldn’t breathe if you didn’t have water or food, or you don’t have shelter or you’re not getting enough sleep, you don’t have clothing or you’re not able, you know, there’s reproduction and we don’t have that as humans.

[00:03:11] All of these are physiological needs that if we lack these things, our life is in danger. Some of you may be able to think about people who might have asthma. The air thing is real. Some of you might be like, well, we have oxygen. It’s fine. Yeah. But there are some people who have trouble with that.

[00:03:27] Clean drinking water. There are parts of the United States right now that have to use bottled water or boil their water because the drinking water is not sourced right. It’s bad. Food, obviously there are food deserts. There are people who are begging for food and meals every day. I think about free lunches at school and they’re trying to, you know, a lot of times that might be the best meal of the day for some children out there.

[00:03:47] Okay. Shelter. Hello? I don’t know if y’all have seen the housing market lately. And I just can tell you right now, there’s no way I’d afford my home today. And even we’re talking about people renting apartments. There’s nobody, no college graduate out there, college student is able to afford. We’re talking about my son.

[00:04:05] He’s graduating high school in a year. He’s not gonna be able to afford an apartment by himself. There’s no way. A friend of mine, her two daughters are looking for help with their apartment. It’s just impossible with prices now. So what about sleep? You know, if you’re not able to sleep, I mean, whether someone’s an insomniac or they have anxiety have been there where you’re not getting enough sleep.

[00:04:24] And let’s all think about the Nightmare Before Elm Street Man. We saw what people, what was happening to people when they were not able to sleep ’cause Freddy Krueger was coming after them. So that’s a big thing. Clothing, reproduction, those are the basic needs of a human. So typically before any human’s gonna listen to your message they need those needs met.

[00:04:41] Now, some of you out there might be marketers for organizations that actually help meet these physiological needs. In that instance, your message is gonna meet the bare, you know, necessities of that audience where it’s like, we have a food kitchen go here. There is a shelter over here.

[00:04:59] There are free blankets here. If someone sees that message and it’s gonna make sure that these needs are met probably gonna get some rapid response. Okay, let’s say that those needs mostly are met.

[00:05:08] Then we have the safety needs, which is about health. It’s employment to make sure you know, you earn your living. You’ve got property somewhere to be, we just talk about rent. Family social ability. So you have those things that are kind of like, okay, now that I’ve got my basic physiological needs met, what do I need to make it day to day as a human in this society?

[00:05:29] Okay. Then we move up to love and belonging, which includes friendship. You wanna have relationships, intimacy, senses of connection. So as human beings, even if we’re super introverts, there’s always gonna be that need for like, what I need to connect with somebody. I need to feel like I relate to somebody.

[00:05:45] And then we move up to esteem. So we’re talking about a person’s confidence, their sense of respect for themself and for others, needing to feel unique, that they’re achieving things, being recognized, they have freedom and things like that. So just went through those four tiers now. So those are the deficiency needs. So again, if those things are missing, you’re talking about a deficient human being. And again, it’s may not be their fault at all. It might just be the circumstances in society they live in. It can have a lot of subjectivity to there, which we’ll talk about as the third point.

[00:06:19] Growth Need

[00:06:19] The second point I wanna bring up is the growth need. Now, those bottom four are the deficiency needs that you wanna make sure someone meets. But then you get to self-actualization where the desire to be the most that one can be. That’s about being moral, being creative being a spontaneous person, being accepted having a sense of purpose and meaning and potential in this life. That’s where you can kind of grow.

[00:06:44] So as we’re looking at this pyramid right now for any marketer that is listening to this podcast probably right now are thinking, okay, my marketing role, what am I selling? You know, because you are, you’re selling something.

[00:06:56] What am I messaging about? What do I want someone to get to, you know, they need to go buy a product or service that I’m messaging about. But all of this is about feelings. So however you get that person to where they’re going to buy the product or service that you’re messaging about, you wanna try to drill into like, okay, which tier or tiers can I work with in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as I message to my audience? Now, I mentioned earlier, if you happen to be, maybe you work for the Red Cross or something like that, you are gonna be messaging about that bottom tier, the physiological needs. But maybe, like myself, I used to work for a B2B SaaS tool. We were trying to get people to adopt it in their MarTech stack.

[00:07:46] Maybe that’s more about the esteem tier, where they wanna be recognized as being the person that Hey, I’m the one who found this tool and now we use it in our company and everything’s easier. They’re gonna get recognized for that, maybe their ROI increases. Or it could even drive back down to the safety needs, which includes employment.

[00:08:04] Maybe someone’s job is hanging in the balance to see if they can come up with a solution, but you as the marketer to that person have the solution and you’re trying to, you know, Hey, let me bring you along to realize this solution can actually save your job or it can help you feel recognized. Maybe you get a promotion you know, and you feel respected at work.

[00:08:26] So there’s so many ways that the different needs in this pyramid, this hierarchy can correlate directly and help inform what you are messaging based on what you want your audience to do. Okay? So I encourage anyone, any marketer who is listening to or watching this, and y’all, this can go for someone in sales as well.

[00:08:49] If you don’t understand the needs of your customer, you’re not gonna be able to strike a chord with them and meet them where they’re at so that you can bring them into the next step that you want to bring them into. So this could go for sales, customer service, marketing for sure.

[00:09:04] That’s why I say Maslow might have been a marketer. I mean, all of these things deal with human experience and all of us have needs.

Multiple Needs in Marketing

And so this leads to the third point. You know, I mentioned that, like based on a specific goal, you want to have the person achieve for you as you market to them.

[00:09:22] You could be dealing with the, the second tier, the safety needs, or you might be dealing with esteem, fourth tier. Chances are your audience is complex and they might have multiple needs that are not being met within this hierarchy that you can message to. And that’s where testing comes in. This is also where surveys come in.

[00:09:43] You can learn a lot about the audience you’re trying to reach by asking them questions, asking how they feel. Do you feel secure in your job? Do you feel respected as you choose tools for work? Are you the decision maker for your company’s products and purchases? Do you feel that people respect your decisions with that?

[00:10:06] Do you feel it’s hard? You know, is it difficult, challenging? You can do ranked questions here. How difficult do you find it to try to stay in budget yet finding the tools that your company needs? You can learn a lot of this stuff that is gonna directly inform, okay, where is that person sitting on this?

[00:10:22] And again, it might be a, a spectrum here, where’s that person sitting on my Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Now how do I craft messaging to reach them? Okay, you’re gonna hear a lot of these episodes talk about the humanity around marketing ’cause we’re talking to humans.

[00:10:36] I get hangry. I got a little hangry today. If I was scrolling my feed on social, I was really not gonna care about anything that wasn’t food related. That’s just the way it is. So you just never know where your audience member is at that moment than if you get fed.

[00:10:50] Or what if I, you know, I have a health need. If I’m scared about that stuff, how much do you think I’m gonna care about like, well, yeah, I really need to make sure that, you know, I feel respected at this point. I’m just trying to live. Right?

[00:11:01] So I just point that out because you do have complex audience and complex customers. I have a feeling you’re gonna want to have a broader approach where you’re not just focusing on one thing. Okay. You wanna try to incorporate and test and see like which one of these things is resonating with my customers?

[00:11:17] So for the tool tip I have today, let’s say that this probably has more to do with like safety needs, personal security property and things like that. The tool tip I’m gonna relate to you today is, it’s an internationally accepted and versatile online bank. I use for my entrepreneurial banking needs. And it comes in handy because I do have international clients- people in India, people in the UK, and also people in the United States.

[00:11:46] And I’m able to provide banking information based on what they need, because I don’t know if you are aware of this, but some other countries need specific banking codes that go beyond like an ACH or a routing number. gives that to you. Y’all, it works just great.

[00:12:02] I put it on my invoices and I get my payments seamlessly. I’m able to easily transfer them over to my joint banking account or save in there. And it’s got a lot of cool tools in there too that’ll let you set up savings and things like that. So I highly recommend it.

[00:12:17] If you’re looking for a trusted online bank, I’ve had a really good experience with them.

[00:12:22] That is all for this episode of marketingXP. Once again, please subscribe to us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Review. I want your reviews.

[00:12:32] By the way you can comment if you go to my website, which is You can find the podcast, you can find the specific episode. There’s ability to comment on every single one. I would love to hear which of y’all as you’re looking at your marketing messaging and what tier or tiers you can probably hammer down on as you’re communicating with your customers.

[00:12:57] Go drop that in a comment on the podcast page. I would love to see that. And let’s compare notes. Let’s talk about how we’re doing that. But thank you all for listening. If you have any suggestions for future topics, you can also do that at,

[00:13:11] You can also see all the live recordings of these podcasts on my YouTube channel, marketing XP on Twitch and also on LinkedIn where I am RachelHasTheMic ’cause I do. All right. Thank you all for listening and we’ll catch you next time on another episode of marketingXP.

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