Maslows PyramidYou have needs. I have needs. We all have needs. But for each of us, those needs may differ.

Selling luxury vehicles or high-end jewelry to someone looking to meet their daily survival needs can be a losing proposition. Selling basic necessities at discount prices to a more than financially comfortable audience might be insulting. Selling a status symbol to someone whose altruism is their highest priority won’t work.

Each person is focused on one or more areas of Abraham Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs.” Knowing your client’s audience intimately can be the key to unlocking the success of their campaign.

Following Maslow’s theory, people pursue need satisfaction. When lower needs are met, we begin trying to satisfy the next higher need.

From lower to higher, Maslow listed:

  1. Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts
  2. Safety/security: out of danger
  3. Belongingness/love: desire to be accepted, affiliate with others
  4. Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition
  5. Cognitive: to know, understand, and explore
  6. Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty
  7. Self-actualization: finding self-fulfillment, realizing one’s potential
  8. Transcendence: helping others become self-actualized


When you can demonstrate to a potential customer that they have a need for your client’s product or service, then intensify that need, you are much closer to making a sale.

Creating a campaign with Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” in front of you will help you focus on that customer and show them how your client can satisfy their needs.

HOWEVER - the needs someone experiences are not static. A person whose demographic profile would indicate a higher position on the hierarchy might be in a situation, or at a time of day or thinking about their child which would mean a commercial targeting #1 or 2 might be effective.

Someone whose basic needs are unmet might still be persuaded by the higher numbered needs.

As you create, consider the environment, situation, time, weather, event that the person is experiencing as well as their demographic and psychographic profile.

When you communicate that your client’s solution satisfies the felt needs of the target audience, that audience will respond…and your needs will be met.

Thanks Abe.

Jeffrey Hedquist has a need to hear from you. Tell him what commercial advertising problem you’d like him to solve. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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