Understanding Customer Needs, Wants, and Demands

Marketings Basic Underlying Concept: Human Needs, Wants, and Demands

At the most basic level, and the driving force underlying marketing, are human needs. Based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they include:

Maslow's Pyramid - Customer Needs in Marketing - Marketing Binder

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the same as customer needs as it relates to marketing.

Culture and individual personality make up a persons wants, which are a form of human needs. As an example, a person needs food to survive, but they may want (or prefer) a specific brand of food.

When a person exercises their buying power and resources, the wants then become demands. A persons demands are based on what delivers the most value and satisfaction to them.

Marketing research firms and businesses spend millions of dollars in understanding a persons wants and demands using multiple types of research tools such as surveys, observations, and sifting through customer data.

Once data is gathered on customer wants and needs, marketing agencies and businesses develop market offerings to fulfill those needs and wants.

Market offerings include physical products or services, such as products, services, information, experiences. They also include other entities such as persons, places, organizations, knowledge, and ideas.

An example of an idea as a market offering includes the Ad Councils, Stop Texting campaign that markets the idea of safety while driving and not texting. Here’s one of the Ad Councils television commercials on their market offerings: (To learn more about the Ad Council and their campaigns, visit them at

SIDEBAR: Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia occurs when sellers focus more attention on their product offerings than the benefits and experiences produced by their products. Company’s that suffer from marketing myopia fail to satisfy the customers needs. When company’s forget that the product they sell is a tool ion satisfying customer needs, they are at risk of losing sales and the customer when another company comes along and focuses on solving the customers needs better, and for less cost.

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