The Pyramid of Maslow

Rick De Vlieger
29 Apr 2013 | 5 mins read

The Pyramid of Maslow, or Maslow's Need Pyramid, is a theory that can be used to explain consumer needs. The theory is based on the idea that every person first has certain basic needs. Only when the first needs have been met will the consumer have the need or the space to realize the next phase.

Because Maslow's model is in the shape of a pyramid, the theory is called the Maslow's Pyramid.

Piramid of Maslow

The Maslow pyramid has 5 phases, we will provide an explanation and a few examples per phase:

  1. The first basic need such as food, air and water - Maslow calls this the physiological needs or primary biological needs.
  2. The second phase in the needs pyramid of Maslov is social security. This includes issues such as safety and security.
  3. Maslow defines the third phase as social contact, say friendship and love
  4. The fourth phase is appreciation recognition and self-esteem, so how others think about you
  5. The final phase is self-development

Explanation and examples of basic basic needs for the Maslow pyramid

The first basic need in the Maslow Pyramid are the primary biological (physiological) needs. Here Maslow refers to the basic necessities such as water, food and oxygen. If these basic necessities are hardly available, as is often the case in the third world, then the consumer does not need anything in the other phases of the pyramid.

Explanation and examples of the second phase of the Maslow pyramid

The second phase in the Maslow Pyramid is also a basic need, namely security of existence in the form of safety and security. If the standard of living in a country or region is high enough that most people can meet their basic needs, the next step will be to ensure safety and security. An important part of safety is guaranteed by a home.

In some cultures, consumers will have to take care of this themselves, for example by building a house, arming themselves, saving or insuring. In other cultures, the government (at least for the weaker ones in society) will take care of much of this phase in the Pyramid of Maslow. In the third world, for example, having children can be seen as an assurance that your old age will also be taken care of.

Explanation and examples third phase Maslow pyramid

The third basic need in the Maslow pyramid is social needs. If the consumer has enough to eat and drink and enjoys certain basic certainties and safety, Maslow believes that the next need will be social contact, or love and friendship. This phase is also referred to as togetherness.

Explanation and examples of the fourth basic need for the Maslow pyramid

The fourth need in the Maslow pyramid is appreciation and recognition, which gives you self-respect. The theory is that if a consumer has friendship and / or love, enough to eat and enough safety, then he or she will have the opportunity to pursue appreciation and recognition. In this phase of the Maslow Pyramid, the consumer therefore has sufficient room to ensure that he or she is accepted by a group. For example, that is only possible if you have enough free time to maintain friendships.

Explanation and examples of the fifth basic need for the Maslow pyramid

The fifth and highest phase in the Maslow Pyramid is self-development. That means that you have enough time and money to develop yourself as a person.

An example of how you could do this by reading or studying something. However, the majority of consumers are more likely to try to get appreciation and self-esteem by wearing fashionable clothes or driving a certain type of car.

Explanation utility Pyramid of Maslow

What exactly can you do with the Maslow Pyramid? Originally, the Pyramid of Maslow is a sociological model, but as you can see in the explanation and examples above, the theory is also widely used by economists. Explaining needs is useful for marketers, business experts, and economists to take into account. The Pyramid of Maslow is of course very black and white. You soon think of the third world where certain basic needs are not present. Nevertheless, in times of crisis, for example, the Maslow's Pyramid can very well be used to explain that consumer confidence is falling because, for example, consumers are afraid of losing their jobs (certainty: phase two of the Maslow pyramid). If the consumer has less certainty, he or she will spend less on self-development.

You can also imagine that certain expenditures are canceled faster and therefore more sensitive to the situation than others. A basic need such as food may be cut back, but the demand will never completely disappear. That is different with certain luxury goods. The same applies to basic necessities as others, for example repairing a replacement compared to a new sports car.

Article rating: 3.4 (65 reviews)
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