Dear M & M:
I am having trouble creating marketing material that actually motivates my customer to buy my stuff. What can I do?
You are correct and on the right track. One of the hardest things a person has to do is to create compelling content in a marketing campaign that causes people to buy. One needs to understand some basic psychology to understand how people think, feel and behave. Tying a marketing message to behavior can lead to sales. Some theories that were studies in 1943 still have relevance today. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs brought about by Abraham Maslow called the “Theory of Human Motivation” must be considered.
Maslow’s studies claimed that a human has five basic needs. The most basic called the “Physiological” deals with our ability to survive and the need for food, clothing and shelter. As you move up the pyramid the next step is “Safety” or our desire to live comfortably. Job security, safe homes, living longer, environment and being healthy come into play under the “Safety” rung on the pyramid.
The third need is “Belonging” or the desire to feel loved or part of group. The fourth step on the pyramid is “Esteem” or our desire to feel important gaining respect or achievement. Finally, we reach the top “Self-actualization” or a desire to push ourselves to the fullest, maybe our legacy or purpose. Once you have understood some basic needs one can move on to understand how and why consumers behave the way they do.
Let’s take a look at an example on how we can use this. Remember the most basic need “Psychological” is a desire for food, clothing or shelter. When marketing for a restaurant unless a person is starving you don’t eat because you are hungry you are choosing what food to eat and where to eat it with whom. Diving deeper going to a nice place satisfies one’s needs for “Esteem” (respect or achievement).
Going where your friends hang out or the family place appeals to one’s sense of “Belonging”, who (family, romance, friends). Maybe that all natural, organic, vegan place might appeal to a desire to push yourself to the maximum or fulfill “Self-actualization”. These secondary reasons “Esteem”, “Belonging” or “Self-actualization”, are why we eat where we eat. Remember we are not selling food we are selling service, ambiance, and other amenities.
Comparing apples to apples one will lose every time. If you can make your lemon’s appear as Myers lemons you have something. When Subway started marketing the healthy choice in the fast food world sales rocketed. Subways healthy choice made us believe if we ate there we were pushing ourselves to other levels from safety (living longer, being healthier) towards the ultimate goal of self-actualization (pushing ourselves to the maximum).
All levels above the “Physiological” level or lowest level on Maslow’s Hierarchy are emotional. People are driven to purchase when one plays on their emotional needs. Consider what step or rung on the pyramid you are appealing to on Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation when writing your next marketing message. Source: Hub Spot, An Introduction to Marketing Psychology.