When you sell something, whether it be a product or service, knowing the wants and needs of your target market is a key to success. Over time, your target market’s wants and needs are likely to change. This is especially true during times of political and economic change. As we are amongst a huge economic crisis, now is the time to evaluate the wants and needs of your target market.
Explaining The Hierarchy of Needs
If you haven’t taken a psychology class, you may have yet to hear about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. To provide you with a summary, Abraham Maslow, a specialist in human behavioural psychology, developed this theory to help explain the connection between basic human needs and human desires.
Maslow’s theory was that needs higher in the hierarchy emerge when people have satisfied needs lower in the hierarchy.
Working from the bottom to the top of the pyramid, individuals’ needs are:
- Physiological needs: air, water, food, shelter, clothing, reproduction
- Safety needs: law and order, health and wellbeing, financial security, etc.
- Love and belonging: family, friendships, sense of connection
- Esteem: respect, self-esteem, confidence and a sense of self achievement.
- Self actualization: desire to become the most one can be and realizing one’s full potential.
Determining where people are at now.
While some businesses and people are thriving during this time, many are not. Individuals who were previously sitting within the Esteem or Self-Actualization hierarchical level have fallen to the Safety hierarchical level.
Many individuals are experiencing thoughts like:
- Where is my next paycheck going to come from?
- Am I going to get sick?
- Are my family or friends going to get sick?
- What will happen to the economy; will it withstand this?
Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
If you have yet to change your marketing or service offering, I encourage you to reevaluate things given the state of your ideal client. Changing your marketing or service offering doesn’t mean that down the road you can never return to what you did previously. It’s about reframing your marketing and offers to help your clients meet their needs based upon where they’re at in the hierarchy.
Let’s look at some possible shifts:
- The accountant
Previously: You used to help your clients with their bookkeeping, managing their cash flow, and doing their taxes to help them successfully grow their businesses.
Updated service: You help your clients apply for loans, stay compliant with the loan regulations, manage cash flow, and implement new tax credits available, so your client can keep their business alive.
The shift: The accountant previously was helping with growing the business, and now the accountant is helping to keep the business alive.
- The health coach
Previously: You created meal plans for your clients and provided them with gym workouts so your client could be in the best shape possible.
Updated service: You create meal plans that fit within the food your clients have access to now, recommend vitamins to help boost immune systems, offer additional support on how to prevent snacking at home, and provide home workouts, so your client can manage stress, boost immunity, and feel safe within their body during this time.
The shift: The health coach previously was helping individuals get into the best shape of their life, and now the health coach is helping their clients meet their safety needs.
- The business coach
Previously: You provided high-ticket, intensive 1:1 coaching to business owners to help them grow and scale their business.
Updated service: You provide group coaching at a lower rate to help business owners pivot their service offerings during this time, so that their business remains relevant.
The shift: The business coach was previously helping a few business owners grow, and now the business coach is helping a lot of business owners find opportunity in this economy.
Evaluating your customers’ needs should be an iterative process.
What’s happening in the word and right now for your clients will not last forever. The service offerings you create now will probably not be relevant forever. Evaluating your customers’ needs and where they fall on the hierarchy should be an iterative process.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you had to pivot your service offering as a result of COVID-19?
Katie Thomas, CPA
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/katiethomascpa/
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