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Psychology and marketing – part 2

We saw in part 1 that we sell feelings, the question is what types of feelings?

This is where we can look at Maslow’s model model of the levels of motivations of humans.


Our most basic needs are physiological, the continued existence of our physical body.

These are our strongest needs. They include things like food, shelter, and warmth. Unless our basic physiological needs are met we will not concern ourselves with a higher need.


Once our physiological needs are met and we know our body will survive, we need to feel safe. Our search for safety at a fundamental level it’s about protection from the elements and feeling safe and secure. Our need for safety also expresses itself in more subtle ways. For example we feel safer and more secure in familiar surroundings. This is why people often feel resistance or fear toward change.

Our fears of risk or loss come from a fear of the need for safety not being met.

Some of the things that we do to help us feel safe are to purchase insurance, put money in the bank, have a business that we feel will be around for a long time and save for our future.


When we are confident that our physiological and safety needs are met, our next desire is love. This is not really about romantic love, although that is part of it, but more significantly the need for connection or belonging.

Human beings do not like to live in isolation. We are social animals and that is why being sent to Coventry hurts. Being connected with others is an important need and is a strong motivating force that serves as the basis for all relationship building.

Love also includes a sense of approval and acceptance as well as being acknowledged and valued for who we are and what we have accomplished.

The seeking of love, approval and acceptance is a very strong need that explains a lot of our behaviour in the world.


According to Maslow, our need for self-esteem is the need for us to feel good about who we are and what we have accomplished in our lives.

We need to experience this satisfaction internally, as opposed to receiving approval and acknowledgement from the outside.


The need for self-actualization is the highest human need. This is where you have complete satisfaction, a feeling of well being and peace. When you have this you are content and are in a state where you are motivated to serve others.

How to use Maslow in our marketing 

Segmentation is a key part of marketing and knowing people’s motivation will enable you to communicate at the right level.

If you are selling cars you may have a different message to a family with a Volvo than to a young male with a sports car. One is after Safety, the other is looking for love and approval.

Make sure you are marketing and selling feeling. And, make sure they are the right types of feelings.