Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

What motivates behavior? According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated in order achieve certain needs. Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" and his subsequent book Motivation and Personality. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.

This hierarchy is most often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. Soon, the need for love, friendship, and intimacy become important. Further up the pyramid, the need for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority. Like Carl Rogers, Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, which is a process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential.



Types of Needs

Abraham Maslow believed that these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior. Physiological, security, social, and esteem needs are deficiency needs (also known as D-needs), meaning that these needs arise due to deprivation. Satisfying these lower-level needs is important in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or consequences.

Maslow termed the highest-level of the pyramid as growth needs (also known as being needs or B-needs). Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to grow as a person.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of Needs:

There are five different levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

1- Psychological Needs:

These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.

2- Security (safety) Needs :

These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health care, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment.

3- Social (Belonging) Needs:

These include needs for belonging, love, and affection. Maslow described these needs as less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community, or religious groups.

4- Esteem Needs:

After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.

5- Self-Actualization Need:

This is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential.


Understanding what motivates behavior helps to classify the product that you sell and markets you want to enter.

Selling food ( physiological need ) not like selling real estate ( security& Safety need ) not like selling Social communication skills training program ( Social ,Belonging ) not like selling high end brands ( esteem )

It becomes more difficult to sell when you go up in the scale as the percentage of people looking for such product will be less hence the need for it will be less.

It is rarely to go to supermarket and see sales person at vegetable section, no matter how expensive some imported vegetables comparable to local ones. It is enough to put the world organic to multiply the price by X amount even though lots of people don’t understand the difference between organic and non organic!

But we have to realize need is need and what seems to be no need for us at the moment it is a need for some other people depends on which level they are in the pyramid. For some people buying expensive watch or expensive branded clothes is just wasting of money , for others it is important for self esteem or even belonging depends where they live.

Knowing on which level is your product helps you in market segmentation and targeting the clients.



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