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In marketing you need to focus on the benefits that your products or services provide. However, a recent conversation with a client about Maslow and marketing got me thinking about these benefits in a whole new light.

After changing the main slogan on their website, this organization started getting noticeably better results. The big difference, they realized, was that one slogan focused on the benefits they offer that meet prospective clients’ social/belonging needs, whereas the other focused on meeting their needs for safety. How can Maslow’s theories help your organization?


In 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that all healthy people have certain needs, which can be arranged in a hierarchy (see below). Maslow believed that human behavior and decision making are motivated by one of the five levels of needs in this hierarchy.

Maslows Heirarchy of Needs.jpg

If you think about it, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be a great tool for strategizing messaging for your business.

To sell your company’s products you must convince prospects that this purchase will meet their needs. But chances are your products can satisfy a wide variety of needs. To help you determine which to focus on, you can brainstorm different messages based on the different levels of needs, and then test them to determine which ones resonate strongest with your prospects. Once you have a “winner,” use messages based on that level of the hierarchy going forward.

Here are some examples to illustrate what this brainstorming might look like…

Pest Extermination Services for Homeowners

  • Safety: Cockroaches carry disease, and termites can undermine the structural safety of a home.
  • Social: Imagine how embarrassed you’ll feel if your pest problem is apparent when friends stop by.
  • Esteem: Keeping a home pest-free is part of the job of a competent homeowner.

Catering Services

  • Safety: Rest assured that our company has a spotless food safety record, and takes many steps to ensure complete safety of the food served.
  • Social: Your guests are going to have a fabulous time at your event – and the delicious and beautifully-presented food will be a big part of this.
  • Self-Actualization: This event is an expression of who you are and what you want to create; count on us to successfully bring your vision to life.

What level of needs are you currently appealing to? What other messages should you test?


Sevona offers luxury apartment home communities in various desirable areas of Texas. As I wrote on the home page of the website for Sevona Avion, it’s “luxury living for those who expect more.” From the standpoint of Maslow’s theories, this messaging simultaneously appeals to prospects who are at three different levels in the needs hierarchy. Because it suggests that by living here you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people it appeals to social/belonging needs. By focusing on the “luxury” aspect it appeals to esteem needs, as it is an achievement to be able to live at this level. And by implying that living here will make your life richer and fuller (the “more” aspect of the message) it also appeals to self-actualization needs.

To learn more about SeVona, visit,, and

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"Each time I work with Linda, I am reminded just how well she understands marketing. Linda understands the principles of marketing on a psychological level. She sees the bigger picture. She is pragmatic, insightful and incredibly fast."

Kristine Putt,
Owner and Brand Identity Designer, Paragon Moon