Maslow’s pyramid of needs applied to Digital Marketing

Maslow's pyramid of needs applied to Digital Marketing

The  Pyramid of Maslow is an exclusive example of classic marketing, but do you know how?
NO?
Don’t worry and get ready to get your facts clear with us. The idea is to help you understand digital marketing from a different perspective so that you can segment well and mark outstanding content.

I’m Aabhas Vijay, founder of www.SMTPServers.co. Today I am here to discuss Maslow’s Pyramid with you guys. I hope it helps you and you can apply the advice to your online strategy.


Abraham Maslow presented this idea based on his work “A theory of human motivation” in 1934. Hence it is named after him and popularly known as Maslow’s Pyramid. The theory explains the rationale of how an individual prioritizes his needs to feel satisfied.

Now the main question that comes to play is what roles do companies, vloggers, bloggers etc. play in it? Since every brand’s focus is to satisfy its customers to make them loyal and retain them in the long run, it only makes sense that brands understand the thought process of their customers. Hence the pyramid comes into play. The pyramid is very insightful when creating logical strategies to fulfill customer’s satisfaction along with fulfilling the goal of the company. 

In this article, we will help you come up with some solid strategies to understand your customers better using Maslow’s Pyramid. 

Debate and Maslow’s Pyramid:

Maslow's pyramid

The first question that comes to mind when we talk about needs is how are they created? Are they already present or the needs are created?

Every individual or a company indeed has needs, which already exist. 

In a world full of materialistic things, we aim to reach higher than others and are never satisfied with what we have. We are yet not clear with the differences between the things that we need and the things that we shop for. Do we need to buy a new outfit for every new occasion? Do you need to buy an iPhone when you already have a mobile? Do you need to have multiple pairs of the same shoes but of different colours? I don’t think so.

There is my own experience, I bought several things which I don’t need and also which doesn’t satisfy Maslow’s Pyramid but that does calm my desire for consumerism. I think this is very common and we all must have experienced this.

Can brands create needs?

With the evolving technology, brands are working hard to fulfill the demands of the target audience. They are conducting surveys, collaborating with influencers and launching offers that give mutual benefits to the customer as well as the brand. There are a lot of brands that have succeeded in gaining the trust of the consumers like NYKAA, AMAZON, COCA-COLA etc. The advertising of these brands have been done by many loved celebrities and they present in a way that raises the urge among the customers to purchase. Many brands sell belts at a moderate price but one would like to talk more about GUCCI, LOUIS VUITTON. Why? Do we need to spend so much that too for a belt? What needs would such expensive belts satisfy? NONE, wearing expensive brands just to look cool and show off doesn’t lie under Maslow’s Pyramid.    

True needs vs impulse purchase

A brand must know what the customer is looking for, what is going in trend and according to that set strategies which would engage the customer with the specific brand. The latest collaboration of the two famous brands Sabyasachi and H&M indeed created a buzz, it created a crazy feeling among the brand lovers to see the collaborated collection, this desire of consuming a brand that has a status and is renowned is called ‘DESIRE FOR POSSESSION’.The brand’s main focus would be of course to maintain its reputation and maximise its sale. We as consumers should now distinguish why we want to purchase from a specific brand? As the strategy used by a product designed to satisfy a need will not be the same as another designed to awaken that “crazy” purchase impulse.

The traditional Maslow’s Pyramid

In Maslow’s Pyramid, the meaning of motivation is very integral. The awareness about the needs of the target audience is the hack to influence them directly.

Maslow’s Pyramid has 5 steps that represent different types of needs a person has to live from basic to the needs that make a person feel self-realized having reached the goals and objectives. The primary agenda of  Maslow’s structure is that ‘strongest’ needs gain our attention when the basic needs are satisfied.


The 5 steps of Maslow’s Pyramid

The first 4 levels can be grouped into  “deficit needs” and the last level is also called “growth motivation”. The difference that exists between the two cases is that while the deficit needs can be satisfied, the need for the 5th step is a continuous driving force, that is, creating the urge to achieve the goals.

Physiological – 100%

Physiological refers to things that are related to our body, there are a lot of physiological needs which are necessary for survival. Example- sleep, eat, breathe, drink water etc. Maslow states that these basic physiological needs must be addressed before humans move on to the next level of fulfilment.

Security – 80%

We need to feel safe and secure in our environment. Keeping a proper check on yourself from threats and staying away from useless arguments. It is a need to be with someone who makes us feel safe and protected. Safety needs include protection from violence and theft, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.

Membership – 60%

We being humans are social beings, we are curious beings. To become a member of a particular group is a responsibility in itself, we learn teamwork, respect others viewpoints and get to learn a lot from others.

Recognition – 40%

These are the needs regarding feeling useful, productive which can increase your self-esteem and make you believe in yourself. To obtain recognition from others you will invest maximum effort with a great level of motivation.

Self-realization – 30%

It is the final stage, it is when you “cross the goal” that you set and you feel like a self-realized person because you achieved everything you set out to do. When talking about needs, it is important to also talk about conflicts.

Conflict occurs when there is dissatisfaction which creates frustration, it makes the person feel disturbed as his needs have not been satisfied. Conflict leads to frustration which further leads to a negative attitude and makes a person angry and if it goes out of control it may lead to ‘wrongful behaviour’ which might cause harm to himself or others as well. 

Factors that contribute to the conflict are :

  • Insult in public or disrespect  
  • Lack of communication
  • Unmet needs
  • Confrontation of different values ​​and principles
  • Lack of resources and development opportunities
  • Differing expectations about how things should be done
  • Work conditions and wages
  • The different responsibilities of management and employees
  • Differences in values, beliefs, needs, or priorities

Maslow’s Pyramid applied to Social Networks

It is nothing surprising to know that consumers showcase different and new behaviours and are evolving along with the technologies and the new trends. The needs are evolving too. It doesn’t mean that the philosophy of Maslow’s pyramid doesn’t exist anymore but now it has been modified. Nowadays the consumers are well versed, informed and updated all the time. The influence of Social Networking takes all the credits in this, every information is available just in one click. 

Social networking channels have given exposure to customers that they didn’t have earlier. Now before buying any product we can see its unboxing, features, review and also can differentiate between other products, it has become more accessible to know the experience of users. Also, the customer care services, return and exchange policies play a major role in maintaining the faith of the users. That is why they play such an important role for brands because you can use them as a “tool” to learn more about your target audience and thus give them what they need at the most appropriate time.

The 5 steps of Maslow’s Pyramid 2.0 – Social media pyramid

Using the hierarchy based pyramid model as a structural basis, one may create a comprehensive social media strategy for the brand. To start with, one needs to understand the basic structure of the model, i.e. the different tiers of the pyramid model. Every human being requires certain needs to be fulfilled to achieve their full potential. For them to achieve maximum potential, they need to go through the 5 tiers of the hierarchy model. From fulfilling the most basic needs of setting up a social media team to maximizing your potential with the help of analytics data, the hierarchy model helps you achieve your social media goals easily.  

1. Physiological: the mobile as an extension of our body

Taking a very relatable example would be our Smartphone. It can be considered as an extension of our body. We need it almost every time, life would be so hard without it, especially nowadays. It helps us in work, leisure time etc.  You need to build your own social media team, start working on the social media handles and upload content with great consistency.

A social media team should be composed of a head, social media content creator (s), community manager, graphic designer, video editor/producer, copywriter, Ads manager, and social media analyst. Further, depending upon the nature of your business, your budget and your target audience and other important requirements, you can build a social media team. 

2. Security: data protection and safe purchases online

Security needs to be adapted to the world of the internet and social networks are elements such as antivirus, strong passwords, data protection, firewalls, etc. Everything that keeps your mobile devices and your social network profiles safe. When it comes to your social media strategy, you need to have a proper plan along with a backup. Every brand and business is vulnerable to poor audience opinion. If you want to keep your business growing, you need to protect your brand from crises. One poor feedback can render all your efforts down the drain. Keep an eye on everything and try to keep up with the trend.

3. Affiliation: we measure ourselves by the number of followers, friends or fans

The person continues to seek acceptance from others, to feel loved and does so in a very similar way to what happens in the traditional Pyramid. People need attention and want to get liked by their group members, they want to look superior and can do anything to reach the level. Engagement is a crucial step in establishing trust and loyalty and in the process, building a community. Similarly, to realize the best potential for your brand on social media platforms, you ought to build strong relationships with your target audience. The key to building an effective relationship with your target audience lies in maximum engagement with your audience. Introducing schemes which are of mutual interest would be beneficial. Responding to all your comments, messages and feedback regularly to maintain a strong relationship with your audience and keeping the floor open for inputs from the audience would build a strong bond.

4. Recognition: the more likes, the better

We all like to feel valued, accepted and part of the social group with which we interact. Now, most of our relationships grow and evolve in the large online communities of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram. In them, we share all kinds of content: videos, infographics, links, ideas, opinions, photos and personal moments with which we seek “the approval of the other.” In this context, recognition is in the forms of likes, followers and subscribers, number of visits and audience engagement. In today’s time, the competition is so tough that some people are practising wrongful things to gain the limelight, they buy fake followers.  

5. Self-actualization: I am already an “influencer”

We could say that in this case, the goal would be to become an “influencer”, that is, socially influenced. Everything you say and do through your social networks will have an important impact on the rest, to the point that you can influence their actions or way of thinking. 

“I do believe that collaboration of brands with influencers is a great practice for marketing, what we see more is what we buy. Brands are now making the customers happy by launching giveaways which would increase their audience engagement rate and would create a buzz about the brand everywhere.” – Nicole, marketing strategist – 10BestReviews.co & littlelittlesteps.co

Maslow’s Pyramid, Google and Content Marketing

We know that users have different types of needs depending on their level, and we also know that Google is the most widely used “needs search engine” for information in the world.

Apart from having a quality product or service, you must develop a good content strategy to be more visible in the search engine and get more and more visits to your website. Also to connect with your target audience in networks and offer them something really useful. You can use these tools and tricks:

  • Use Google’s keyword planner to find the highest-average search words in your industry
  • Write articles on your website blog that add value and help your community, attach videos along to have a virtual idea.
  • Spy on the keywords that your competition uses with Semrush  (perhaps they have detected needs that you have not yet realized)
  • Use social networks to interact and ask users about their interests, needs and problems
  • Use more useful hashtags and create eye catchy posters.

Conclusions and final tips

Nowadays, if a brand wants to know its consumer perfectly, it must take into account both pyramids and work based on that to pacify the needs of customers. 

It has become mandatory to have good relations with its customers and work to satisfy the customer’s needs.

I hope after reading our article you will be able to trace a much clearer and more direct path towards your target audience. Hope you enjoyed our article? Comments and let us know what you gained out of it?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *