I visited a large electronics retailer. The owner and I were discussing what it was that his customers wanted to see on his website. I was explaining that different customers want different things depending on their needs. I showed him Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
This pyramid describes our basic satiable needs. It begins at the bottom with the most basic physiological needs like sleep, food, warmth etc. and increases in complexity as we move upward to Safety needs then the need to belong and then Esteem needs.
He took a few seconds to look at it and he said to me, “Why is money not on the list? Money is a need, isn’t it?” But, in fact, money is not a need. Some people use money as security. They save their money because they fear that one day they may need it in case of illness or job loss. For others, money gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them feel more confident. Money is used to satiate needs and is not a need in itself.
When you advertise your product, you must talk about your product in such a way that it meets your customer’s specific needs - not just the features of his product. Let's take a mattress. The advertiser can talk about the coils and fabric but you really care about how well you sleep.
If you want to be a great advertiser you can make a deep impression when you talk about what sleep does for you. "Sleep well by night so you can live your dreams by day." Now you are offering your customer Hope.
Look at the top of Maslow’s pyramid the area he refers to as self-actualization. Maslow explains that once you fulfill all the below levels of the pyramid you can focus on self-actualization. That is a level where you are focused on happiness, truthfulness, beauty, unity, aliveness, uniqueness, justice and many more non-satiable needs.
When you access the needs that fall into this category you give your advertising an emotional anchor (previously discussed in our article “Liberate your inner Pavlov”). This is something that the consumer has a deep desire for and keeps coming back for more. It’s an insatiable need.
I would explain a bit more but if you watch this over the top dramatization from the TV series Mad Men on Kodak’s 1970’s slide projector you will understand better. Before you watch let me set this clip up. Kodak executives are really excited about a new product feature – the wheel. But Don Draper, the advertising executive, knows that features never sell a product. Emotions do. Watch here.
Morty Silber, CEO
Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner
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