Leveraging Human Psychology — Marketing to the Needy


We have spent a big chunk of our human existence as hunter-gatherers. And so it’s safe to say that we as human beings are wired to collect things. You can see this reality play out even in some of our ancient burial habits. Many people were entombed along with possessions for the afterlife. Man and personal property go together hand in hand. Just ask the writers of the U.S.

What I am getting at is that people are — by their very nature — needy. We love to collect things, products, friends, memories, and experiences for various reasons. And because man does not walk onto the car lot unless he is interested in buying a car, it’s safe to assume that if someone is in your store or on your website, then they are open to buying your product. If your ad can speak to their innate desire to collect things, then there is a greater chance that they will go ahead and buy what you’re selling.

Advertising Strategies:

  1. Basic Needs — 1. Selling batteries in Florida? Well, you just don’t know when the next hurricane-causing power outage could occur. What better way to sell your product than to remind the consumer that they might need batteries to power their flashlights?
  2. Jealousy Purchase — 1. Did you see his new Michael Jordan shoes or her new Gucci purse? Don’t be left out! You NEED to buy one for yourself.
  3. Purchases of Convenience —1. The advent of Amazon reminds us that one commodity is even more valuable than any product you can buy in a store: time itself. Advertise your product by appealing to the time this product will save the consumer.
  4. Replacement Buys — 1. Many purchases are simply the buying of an old item that is now obsolescent. Sell your product as something the customer will need soon enough anyway. If the price is right at the moment, then there is a good chance you will have in that consumer a willing buyer.

Effectively Marketing to the Needy — A Case Study

This very effective video ad by Intel shows a woman running to catch the taxi in which she left her laptop. She admits that her computer is slow and her running after something that could be replaced by a newer and better product is a waste of time. Isn’t that all of us? Don’t make the same mistake as the woman in the ad; go out and buy a new computer today. A compelling argument!