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Psychology and marketing – part 1

Marketing is about communication, persuasion and influence so it’s useful to have some understanding of psychology around human behaviour. At the end of the day, customers are people and people are emotional animals. We all buy emotionally and justify logically.

Remember, all customers are selfish. Customer only care about their pain or their pleasure. If you are talking about you and what you do in your marketing you are broadcasting on the wrong channel. Your customers are listening to Radio WI fm – they want to know What’s In It For Me.

So, it’s vital we understand our customers motivation so we can communicate effectively.

Now, the truth is that most of what we do in the developed world is done for “wants” rather than “needs”. Think about it, we are way past need; we need an Iron Lung if we can’t breathe but do we really need to wear expensive jewellery, go out for dinner, drive a BMW, have that new kitchen, replace our golf-clubs, own a holiday home or spend the money we do?

No, most of what we spend is not needed so the question is why do we spend money? What motivates humans? Well, a useful concept to explain this is Maslow’s Hierarchy or Needs.

Dr. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who specialized in human behavior. He created a pyramid that shows a hierarchy of the human needs that he believed were the motivators of people’s actions.

According to Maslow we seek to fulfil our most basic needs first. These are at the bottom of the pyramid. Each of these needs must be satisfied before we concern ourselves with the next need in the hierarchy. The key point is that humans are driven to reach the top of the pyramid but will only move up as each lower need is fulfilled.

What’s interesting is that we are not always conscious of the true motivation for our actions and nor of your customers. When you ask people to explain why they do things it’s usually because it makes them feel good.



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