Friday, January 11, 2013

Marketing Mad Lib: 7 Human Needs ____ Fulfills

Years ago, a wise teacher shared her version of the 7 human needs all theater fulfills.  Back then, her list sounded like pure genius. Two decades and many marketing hours later, it still does. Here is what she shared:

The 7 Human Needs all Theater Fulfills
  • Need to empathize 
  • Need for spectacle (something larger than us) 
  • Need for entertainment 
  • Need for ritual (communal ritual) 
  • Need to participate 
  • Need to learn/ expand 
  • Need for magic 
Today, i have come to realize how this list seven human needs all theater fulfills is a remarkable (although incomplete) adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a well held theory in psychology proposed by  Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in which he describes developmental personality markers as stages of human growth.   

These developmental stages, defined by primary human needs, encompass six (ultimately seven) categories of human motivation (aka: needs):  Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization.  The seventh, innate curiosity, was added later to reflect our genuine need to expand, learn and decode an increasingly complex world.

Effective Marketing Campaigns can be analyzed through the lens of these seven key motivational drivers. Equally, new campaigns are developed when a strong foundation is built on need as a human motivator.  

When marketers begin to whiteboard a concept, most conversations begin with the same basic question:  what solution does this product or service provide?  When less is known about the customer and more is understood about the product, this approach can yield remarkable results.   Alternatively, those with a strong grasp on the motivational drivers of the customer begin by asking:  what need will this campaign satisfy? which stage of human development best reflects the reality of my customer?  

Customer groups are rarely uniform.   A group of personal trainers pursuing certification or continuing education may include new trainers who seek career and financial stability (safety manifested), mature trainers who hope to satisfy innate curiosity as adult learners or added skills that establish their place as equals among younger professionals (belonging) or basic bonds through shared experiences.  

Seems simple, except that we forget that new trainers may be seeking to establish their place / authority (not financial stability) and mature trainers may seek financial stability (not innate curiosity). Segmentation based on role or title rarely yields the same results of segmentation based on key needs.  

Remember: Time, roles and titles do not always reflect unique needs - and this is where most marketers get it wrong. Not only must you be sensitive to the stages and levels among the larger demographic , effective strategies must be thoughtfully articulated in how they segment they target groups. 

Focus Question:
So, what do you need? Where on the hierarchy do your needs fall? And how will you use this information to be a better marketer?

1 comment:

  1. You say: "Time, roles and titles do not always reflect unique needs - and this is where most marketers get it wrong."

    and in that regard, presuming a demographic slice that does embrace a set of needs that are apparently contrary to the analysis could be profitable, assuming your target niche has enough funding to allocate to your product in great enough numbers to suit your needs.



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