Radio Hed: Abe Maslow - Ad Guy

Maslows PyramidYou have needs. I have needs. We all have needs. But for each of us, those needs may differ.

Selling luxury vehicles or high-end jewelry to someone looking to meet their daily survival needs can be a losing proposition. Selling basic necessities at discount prices to a more than financially comfortable audience might be insulting. Selling a status symbol to someone whose altruism is their highest priority won’t work.

Each person is focused on one or more areas of Abraham Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs.” Knowing your client’s audience intimately can be the key to unlocking the success of their campaign.

Following Maslow’s theory, people pursue need satisfaction. When lower needs are met, we begin trying to satisfy the next higher need.

From lower to higher, Maslow listed:

  1. Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts
  2. Safety/security: out of danger
  3. Belongingness/love: desire to be accepted, affiliate with others
  4. Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition
  5. Cognitive: to know, understand, and explore
  6. Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty
  7. Self-actualization: finding self-fulfillment, realizing one’s potential
  8. Transcendence: helping others become self-actualized

 

When you can demonstrate to a potential customer that they have a need for your client’s product or service, then intensify that need, you are much closer to making a sale.

Creating a campaign with Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” in front of you will help you focus on that customer and show them how your client can satisfy their needs.

HOWEVER - the needs someone experiences are not static. A person whose demographic profile would indicate a higher position on the hierarchy might be in a situation, or at a time of day or thinking about their child which would mean a commercial targeting #1 or 2 might be effective.

Someone whose basic needs are unmet might still be persuaded by the higher numbered needs.

As you create, consider the environment, situation, time, weather, event that the person is experiencing as well as their demographic and psychographic profile.

When you communicate that your client’s solution satisfies the felt needs of the target audience, that audience will respond…and your needs will be met.

Thanks Abe.

Jeffrey Hedquist has a need to hear from you. Tell him what commercial advertising problem you’d like him to solve. Email Jeffrey@hedquist.com.

© 1997-2017 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Comments (2)

  1. Gord Williams

The problem with this theory having sold ads and worked on them, is you can't be scientific about it. You do a survey at a mall say (like I did) about the processes that trigger a sale or interest, and you can stand there all day and get half answers as people file past you to get at the...

The problem with this theory having sold ads and worked on them, is you can't be scientific about it. You do a survey at a mall say (like I did) about the processes that trigger a sale or interest, and you can stand there all day and get half answers as people file past you to get at the French Fries in the food court, and damn, they ARE tasty.

Move towards where the Sears or the Wal Mart is and you get a different answer, especially when people are crazed over there sale hunting. Its a more rabid response.

Move back into the cozy confines of the local radio station (in the city were I discovered this theory) and you can see in the Media data bank, skewness. Its the data from the area of other surveys, most of which are not statistically accurate as the sample size is way too small Mathematically it does not work out.

Logically that should be enough to give a picture, but that Media database can be adjusted to 'skew' data numbers that support the Jeans Shoppe in the Mall where you were doing a big buy of only that media.

So, even if its straight up Maslow there are others having a whiz in the pool. But lets deal with Maslow only in conclusion. Just the statistical accuracy of many people passing by with 'dunno' as an answer, running for the fries (remember they ARE tasty), the result of surveys are suspect. You have to account for survey companies being paid to get answers, any answers before CLICK. Focus groups thats another matter, the one's I saw were not involved with fries. It was free Pizza and pop.

Skewness, Maslow, they exist in the same breath.

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  1. Jeffrey Hedquist

Gord, you’re right. It would be wonderful if surveys would supply scientific data that you could plug into a formula.

My experience has shown that It’s more art than science. You have to rely on intuition & experience.

Of the 240 articles I’ve written, each is a tool in your box. This...

Gord, you’re right. It would be wonderful if surveys would supply scientific data that you could plug into a formula.

My experience has shown that It’s more art than science. You have to rely on intuition & experience.

Of the 240 articles I’ve written, each is a tool in your box. This technique alone may not provide the only solution to creating a message that works, but taken together, they may give you some ways to break writers’ block.

It’s just one part of a nutritious breakfast.

Knowing your client’s audience, no matter how you achieve it and seeing where on Maslow’s list they might fall has helped quite a few of the broadcasters I work with get better results for their clients.

In the end, the message trumps all. Rather than trying to reach everyone, a really compelling commercial targeted to your best shot at hitting the hump in the bell curve will touch some of the potential customers you’re targeting and inspire some to refer others to your client.

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