When I first studied marketing in the 1990’s Kotler, Maslow and Pavlov were THE gurus. Kotler is best known for his 4Ps, Maslow for his hierarchy of needs and Pavlov for his conditioned reflex studies with dogs.
So why do I brood about old stuff? Wouldn’t it be much more fun to read about something new for a change? Yes, you are probably right. But a good theory is still good as gold, even if it is revised some times. In marketing we strive every day to meet and exceed the expectations of our prospects and understand the needs of the customers. We want to help them choose our product or service. And this is where the good old hierarchy of needs come in. Maslow’s hierarchy have been both revised and criticized, but I will stick with the original version which still remains required reading in marketing studies.
In marketing we want to appeal directly to one or more of the needs of our target group. Depending on what you are offering, all levels in the pyramid can be used. If you for example are selling insurance, you want to appeal to the needs on level two and three. You can see this in the TV commercials for insurance, with the focus on family and safety. In B2B we need to focus more on the top two levels.
Here are some tips on how you can implement the pyramid in your marketing communication:
- Consider the level of need your customer is trying to meet, and market your product or service in such a way that it will fulfill exactly that need.
- Perform evaluations of your marketing efforts because your target group may change
- A prospect has an entirely different need than a customer. Are you talking to them in the right way or do you give them all the same treatment in hope that some of them will respond?
- Quality is better than quantity. Unfortunately it is not so that the more people you reach the more business you will get. Pick your target group, meet their needs and you will have respondents that are much more likely to actually be looking for your product or service
- Invest in a tool that can help your organize your customer data and enable you to perform targeted marketing. To meet different needs you have to communicate to the right target group at the right time with the right message
Marketing is all about understanding the needs of the customer; ie. what makes us tick, and to do that you need to do your background research, be updated on the theory, measure your activities, revise and the outcome will be not only good marketing figures but a visible impact on the business turnover.
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