Marketing. – Needs and Wants


Marketing concept is primarily based on human needs. A human need is a state of the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. Human need can be very complex too.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. He decided to create a classification system which is reflecting the universal needs of society as its base and then proceeding to more acquired complex individual emotions. The primary goal of applying Maslow’s Theory is to attain the fifth level – self-actualization.

Maslow further arranged human needs in a hierarchy from the most essential to least essential. The hierarchy is as follows,

  1. Level 1. – Psychological needs.
  2. Level 2. – Safety needs.
  3. Level 3. – Social needs.
  4. Level 4. – Esteem needs.
  5. Level 5. – Self actualization needs or self development.

Psychological needs and Safety needs are considered as the most important aspects of human needs.

  1. Psychological needs

This the most basic level of Maslow’s Hierarchy and is considered as the main physical requirements for human survival and considered as universal human needs. Furthermore his theory states that humans are desired to fulfill these needs first in order to pursue satisfaction on a higher level. However If these needs are not achieved, it leads to an increase in displeasure within an individual. This displeasure within an individual can lead to the motivation to decrease these incompatibilities increases. Physiological needs can be both traits and a state.

Psychological needs include,

  1. Housing
  2. Food.
  3. Clean water.
  4. Shelter.
  5. Sleep and restfulness.

2. Safety needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy theory states that once a person’s physiological needs are satisfied, their safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. Safety and security needs are about keeping oneself safe from harm. Safety needs include shelter, job security, health, and safe environments. If a person does not feel safe in an environment, they will start seeking safety before their attempt to meet any higher level of survival, but the need for safety is not as important as basic physiological needs.

In the unfulfilled physical safety, people may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Trans-generational trauma, and this can be due to war, natural disasters, family related violence, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, childhood abuse, etc.

However in the lack of economic safety, mainly due to an economic crisis and lack of work opportunities, these safety needs manifest themselves in ways such as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, disability accommodations, etc. This level is more likely to predominate in children as they generally have a greater need to feel safe.

Safety and Security needs include:

  1. Personal security.
  2. Emotional security.
  3. Financial security
  4. Health and well being.
  5. Safety needs and precautions against accidents or illness and their adverse effects.
Social needs.

3. Social Needs

After physiological needs and safety needs are fulfilled, then the third level of human needs are considered to be interpersonal and it usually involves feelings of belonging. This need is especially dominant in childhood.

Deficiencies of social needs can adversely affect an individual’s ability to the formation and maintaining emotionally significant relationships in general. This kind of deficiencies does occur mainly due to the neglection, social rejection, bullying, oppression etc.

Social Belonging needs include:

  1. Friendship.
  2. Sexual relationships.
  3. Family.

According to psychology, a person need to feel a sense of acceptance and belonging among small or large social groups. Some large social groups may include co-workers, religious societies, professional organizations such as BCS, sports teams, and online communities and social media groups. Some small social connections include family members and close relatives, mentors, colleagues, close friends that you could count on, and sexual relationships with intimate partners.

Humans are having the need of to be loved and to be appreciated, both sexually and non sexually by others. Many people can succumb to loneliness, social anxiety, and depression in the lack or absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging sometimes may overcome the physiological needs and security needs, depending on the situation and the strength of peer pressure.

4. Esteem needs.

Esteem needs are the needs that develop because of the personal concern with getting social status, importance among peers/ lackeys, recognition and respect from others.

Almost all the human beings are having a need to feel respected and appreciated by others, also to have self worth and self respect. Esteem is typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or a hobby to gain recognition, because of the sense of contribution or value.

Lack of self worth or having an inferiority complex mindset may occur because of imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. Individuals with low self worth does often feel the need of respect from others, so they may eventually feel the need to seek fame or glory, though the fame or glory will not help an individual to improve their self worth until they accept who they are internally. Psychological reasons such as depression can distract a person from achieving a higher level of self worth.

5. Self actualization needs.

Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Sometimes the Individuals may focus on this need very specifically. According to Maslow to understand this level of needs, a person has to achieve the psychological, safety, social, and esteem needs and also must master them. Self actualization can often be described as a value oriented system when it comes to discussing its role in motivation. This is also considered as an explicit motive, because a person has to achieve every other need to achieve this . An explicit motive can be defined as a reward oriented system that is used to intrinsically pursue certain values or goals. This needs includes,

  1. Acquisition of a mate
  2. Parenthood
  3. Ability utilization
  4. Talents utilization.
  5. Working towards a goal
  6. Seeking Happiness

Whatever the need is, when that need is not satisfied, a person is forced to do one of these things,

  1. keep looking for an object that will eventually satisfy your need, or,
  2. trying to reduce the need for something

Trying to find or develop products or objects that will satisfy your need, if you are living in an industrialized society. If you are living in a less developed society you may try to reduce your desire in hope of satisfying it when it is available.


Human needs are formed and shaped by their culture and individual personality. Wants can be described as in terms of objects or products that will satisfy particular needs. The wants of people will evolve and expand as the society is also going through evolution. A person’s desires and interest can peek when they become exposed to more and more satisfying products and needs.

A person’s desires and interest can peek when they become exposed to more and more satisfying products and needs.

To be successful in marketing, the producer of a product or a service, must understand that it is actually the need which underlays the want. However if the producer is merely interested in satisfying the existing wants of the customers, they will be pushed out of the market because of their shortsightedness, specially if they are in a competitive and innovative industrialized society.

The role of an organization is not merely providing the wants of a customer, and the organization should engage in Research and development and should create and develop their products and services accordingly to the new wants of the customer to fulfill their needs.

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