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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in Digital Marketing

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, created the ‘Theory of Motivation’ or the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ theory. It establishes the idea of man being motivated by five groups of needs in and through his life.

It is a simple principle: As one progresses in their lifetime, their needs and requirements evolve with them.

(Source - Very Well Mind)

The Theory of Motivation specifies needs as follows:

  1. Physiological: Air, water, food, clothing, shelter

  2. Safety and Security: Security, employment, resources

  3. Love and Belongings: Friendship, intimacy, family, belongings

  4. Self-esteem: Respect, self-respect, status, recognition

  5. Self-actualisation: Desire to reach one's maximum potential

These needs fall into the category of either ‘Basic Needs’ (Physiological, Safety & Belongingness) or ‘Growth Needs’ (Self-esteem & Self-actualization).

The Theory applied to Digital Marketing

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a person moves from one level to another by traveling up the pyramid. However, when one moves upwards, their previous needs are not eliminated. Anyone seeking love, for example, would not disregard their need for food and shelter.

More often than not, we observe brands selling needs instead of products and services. If you examine closely, most of these brands can be classified based on the need they satiate.

Physiological Needs

These are the necessities of survival that one has to acquire. It includes needs related to food, clothing and shelter, which are satiated through daily activities and are vital for a person's well-being.

Brands like Big Basket focus on selling the need for fresh food that's nutritious. Their marketing communication doesn't revolve around eating the right food; instead, it talks about sourcing the right ingredients.