Part 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & Healthcare

Summary: a discussion this past week about behavioral re-targeting made me think of the larger more macro issue of human behavior overall and how it applies to healthcare marketing and content. Thus, Maslow. This will be a blog posting in 2 parts:

  1. Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and Social Media.
  2. Neuroscience and Marketing: the next thing?

As a highly regulated industry, we struggle with the boundaries and barriers of Patient-centric marketing. Yet, the tidal forces of an accelerating society, policy and Consumerization make this a moment of great opportunity for marketers. We can now actually get closer to our customers — the media channels are established, the tools exist to measure. Strategically, we can use these trends, media and tools to engage with our customers them to actually influence choice, loyalty and industry perception.

What is holding us back (besides regulatory fears)? Understanding the human condition and how to speak to different people with different needs and be compelling in your message: it is the heart of Customer-centricity.

Human behavior is at the center of so much if what we know and do as healthcare marketers. The closer we are to gaining insight into how the people we sell to, the more we can understand what is needed to get them to act and engage.Yet what I think has occurred is that the focus on process/people/technology as the baseline to get to Customer-centricity has made us blind. Blind to the fact that once you do enough Journeys, enough channel-planning, enough insight-mining, you get to human behavior. The buck, literally, stops there. No sale, no loyalty is achieved without a behavior change.

No one understood human behavior better than Maslow. He was truly ground-breaking in how his pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs showed a clear path from the critical but mundane needs to the highly enlightened stage of Self-actualization.

Can we use his model as a source for inspiration, guidance, Planning?maslow_ingles

Last week, I discovered that someone actually mapped the stages of the pyramid to the myriad Social Media platforms. This was fascinating to me because if you really apply the Patient or HCP Journey you work with, then this illuminates where, when and how you speak to them.

Yet I am not sure I agree with their assessment. But it makes one think, that’s for sure. Check this out:

At first notice, you could argue that Tumblr belongs in a few spots. But then you see that no Social platform covers the physiological needs.

Twitter seemed a bit misplaced; in fact, one could argue that the instant nature of Twitter could serve many levels — perhaps the physiological most of all, which has no platform associated with it.

Can we apply this to how we frame content development and where we think our audience is?

mHealth App development, or developing an evergreen content strategy for a Branded or Unbranded site — this is where I think the Hierarchy plays best. Apply your imagination — what if your Patient App actually held the content and UX to allow someone to move up-and-down the Pyramid and have many of those needs served.

Align your App or site goals to focus on Maslow’s thinking. Does someone living with a chronic condition go through each of these levels of the pyramid before coming to terms with it? Can we help get them there through smarter content that speaks to them and the needs they have? Can we move someone to a point where Adherence simply seems in their best interest because they see passed their barriers to a more enlightened — this makes me healthier — perspective?

I believe Maslow’s insights could play a huge role in creating an App that actually provides long-term value.

Thanks to the companies listed at the bottom of the infographic for their depth-of-thought and generosity.