Second in a series on the Maslow pyramid (MP), it is now important to focus one of the many consequences of the model on the entrepreneur's life : marketing and commercializing products.
It may seem disconnected at first, but Maslow's pyramid of needs has everything to do with the product you have in your head / are developing / are trying to sell.
Question : Where does your product fit in the pyramid ? What type of need are you addressing ?
The answer to those questions is your first step in determining you infamous 4 Ps in your Marketing plan. It even helps if you are part of those who believe there are really 7 Ps...
Here's how. Knowing where your product fits will tell you :
- if your product is a commodity product (lower on the MP) or a luxury product (higher on the MP)
- if you're strategy will be one of volume (lower on the MP) or one of being very different and unique (higher on the MP)
- if you can ask for a high price or not (directly proportional to your product's position on the MP)
- who you will position and target your product to (optimal market is the group that find themselves where your product does on the pyramid)
- what the next functionalities of your products should be (do you want to move up, down or stay at your level on the MP?)
I have so many examples of products that prove the model. One that I like talking about is Starbucks coffee. Two generations ago, coffee was unknown on the general consumer market. Brilliantly marketed, coffee companies were able to make this new product a commoditized one. So much so, that not having coffee in the morning is a valid explanation to someone's bad mood or slowness of mind.
What Starbucks then did was very difficult and demanded as much brilliance in their marketing. They decided to bring the product out of the commodity market and bring it higher on the MP. Today, you don't go to Starbucks for the coffee, you go for the experience and the status getting a Starbucks coffee will get you. It is striking in major metropolitan centers to see young professionals line up around the bloc for Starbucks coffee when a neighboring local coffee shop is empty. Holding a Starbucks cup gives you esteem, confidence and a (very false) sense of achievement - everything describing level 4 of the MP.
So figure out where your product stands and where you want to take it. Use the hidden genius of Maslow or someone else will.