Positive Knight

Why don’t you need to make the consumer want to buy?

The consumer cannot be forced to buy a product. You can only take the desires, fears and other emotions of the consumer and direct them in the right direction – to a specific product.

I believe the following quote is absolutely correct.

Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already-existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copywriter’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel and direct it.

—Eugene Schwartz, Breakthrough Advertising (Boardroom, 2004)

But how do you find out the needs and fears of the consumer?
The classic will help us with this. Namely, Maslow’s pyramid.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The following quote describes Maslow’s pyramid.

Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.

1. Physiological needs – these are biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.

If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.

2. Safety needs – once an individual’s physiological needs are satisfied, the needs for security and safety become salient. People want to experience order, predictability and control in their lives. These needs can be fulfilled by the family and society (e.g. police, schools, business and medical care).

For example, emotional security, financial security (e.g. employment, social welfare), law and order, freedom from fear, social stability, property, health and wellbeing (e.g. safety against accidents and injury).

3. Love and belongingness needs – after physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, the third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness. Belongingness, refers to a human emotional need for interpersonal relationships, affiliating, connectedness, and being part of a group.

Examples of belongingness needs include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and love.

4. Esteem needs are the fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy and include self-worth, accomplishement and respect. Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

Maslow indicated that the need for respect or reputation is most important for children and adolescents and precedes real self-esteem or dignity.

5. Self-actualization needs are the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, and refer to the realization of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. Maslow (1943) describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be.

Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have a strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed economically, academically or athletically. For others, it may be expressed creatively, in paintings, pictures, or inventions.


Of course, human needs may not have a clear hierarchy, as in Maslow’s pyramid. But they will still exist. And we copywriters can use that. And there is a lot of work here.

For example, what could be more important than the bread that people eat every day? The need for security is also important. But in different countries, the term “security” will mean different things. Also, for different people, the need for aesthetic pleasure will be different.
The bottom line is that all people have needs. The task of the marketer is to pave the way from a need to its satisfaction in the most convenient way.

With this I leave you.

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