Recently, I’ve had countless complaints from different people whose sales have dropped drastically. The frequency of the inquiries on what might have caused it and the way forward is what has necessitated this post. I really would have loved to make this post a short one, but to avoid the assumption that everyone has an understanding of the concept I would want to use in driving my point home, such an assumption may be misleading. So please, endure and enjoy the read.
A lot of business persons have poured in funds to intensify their marketing lately due to the drop in patronage, but the more effort (including funds) they put in, the more their odds of making sales keep dropping. Some are already perceiving it as the workings of their village people, while others are perceiving it as if their product has reached the stage of decline in its life cycle. Before anything else, let’s quickly visit the concept of one of America’s late psychologists who was born in the year 1908, and died in 1970. His name is Abraham Maslow.
Abraham Maslow proposed that there are 5 Stages of human needs.
1. Biological and Physiological needs: air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
2. Safety needs: security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
3. Love and Belongingness needs: friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work, etc.)
4. Esteem needs: esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) reputation or respect from others (status, prestige)
5. Self-actualization needs: realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, and peak experiences.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (five-stage model) is divided into two categories: deficiency needs and growth needs. The first four are deficiency needs while the last is a growth need. Deficiency needs emerge when humans lack them. For example, when humans lack food they feel hungry and therefore seek to satisfy this need.
The longer humans are deprived of a deficiency need, the stronger the desire becomes. Meaning that the longer you are deprived of food, the hungrier you become. Once a deficiency need is met, the motivation to satisfy it disappears and humans seek to fulfill higher needs. Once you satisfy your hunger, finding food will not be your motivation anymore. On the other hand, growth needs do not emerge from the lack of something. They merely stem from a desire to develop and make progress. Moreover, growth needs do not vanish when they are satisfied, they may even grow stronger.
Marketing’s main focus is engaging with humans and that means understanding human nature, its needs, reactions, and top priorities is a basic part of the marketing role. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can play a major part in this. For that reason, marketing and psychology usually overlap. That is why a good marketer knows that before developing a marketing strategy, understanding the target audience of a business is vital.
Doing this through psychology is an effective way of getting to know potential customers properly as it helps us find out what they like or dislike, what kind of language affects them, and more. The more you understand your audience, the greater influence your marketing strategies will have. Therefore, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – a popular psychological theory – can be a very useful key to understanding the low patronage small businesses are facing recently.
Nigeria’s economic situation is in a terrible state. The naira has lost so much value, cost of living has gone up drastically, unfortunately, the income of an average Nigerian has remained the same in the last 5years or more. People who will normally have money over at the end of every month, no longer have enough to carry them to the end of the month. As a result of that, most of them now hardly spend on anything that is not within basic needs.
As important as psychological needs are, it has now become a luxury in the Nigeria of today. So what does this info have to do with small business people? As good as high-end products are, difficult economic times call for strategic diversification. Times like this may require you to look into products or services that proffer solutions to basic needs and then do high turnover on such business.