Many businesses get caught up in what they want to SAY to the customer with their marketing. This causes them to lose track of what the customer actually wants to HEAR. What many of us overlook is basic, freshman-level, psychology that gives us the best window into the mind of the customer. Once we break it down simply, the best content marketing doesn’t focus on where and when of engagement, but why…
Here is my point – In the 1950’s, American psychologist, Abraham Maslow developed his famous Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy theorized that all people have 5 basic levels of needs that must be met as they ascend to “Self-actualization,” the point where they are physically and spiritually fulfilled. The hierarchy is as follows:
- Physiological – food, water, warmth, rest
- Safety – security
- Love & Belonging – intimate relationships, friends
- Esteem – prestige and feeling of accomplishment
- Self-Actualization – achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities
All of your customers exist within the levels of this hierarchy. If you can understand just the two most important levels of need, you can greatly improve your content marketing strategy.
Love & Belonging
The greatest opportunity for marketers lies in “Love & Belonging”, the area where customers are driven by the growing F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) phenomenon. Will your product or service help improve their social standing, give them a greater sense of belonging or offer them something they have otherwise been missing? For this group, your content should try to make a “spiritual” connection to this group, show that you understand their needs.
Another important need for marketers to target within the hierarchy is “Esteem,” which centers around a person’s desire to gain the respect of others, to be confident, and to feel sense of achievement. Car dealers, furniture retailers, real estate agents, and high end retail do well marketing to this segment.
Companies with the best opportunity to market to consumers in this level still seem to make the most mistakes. “But Brad, we are a business owned by 3 generations of my family who give people the best deals. Our staff is the most knowledgeable in the business and P.S….we are really very friendly. This has always been our message.” My answer to this is always the same. That is the foundation on which your business has been established is undeniably superior to most and you should never lose that. However you are dealing with What Can You Do For Me consumers so you have to market to that characteristic.
Here’s an example to help illustrate my point. John is a successful, early thirties businessman in the market for his first brand new car. He doesn’t want to hear about your dealership’s low low every day prices, no hassle no haggle policy, or see your kids pitching the dealership. He’s is not looking for a DEALERSHIP, he’s looking for a CAR, and the dealership is just a necessary evil in the process. Your content strategy has to address John’s needs. This is the best car you could possibly own, John. You worked hard for this car, you deserve it, and your colleagues will be super jealous…
Great content marketing needs to tell a story, and that story needs to be about the customer. When the story is more about the marketer, it’s just advertising that yells into the void. Understand the needs of your customer and start engaging them in their buyers journey. Now that you’ve got some new perspective, you can check out our Online Marketing Workbook to set your plan in motion.