Customers seeking to satisfy their self-actualization needs online do so to fulfil their total potential. Self-actualization represents the need for growth that people constantly strive for as they reach toward fulfilling their highest level needs.
Yes, if you’ve guessed that I’m talking about Maslow’s 1 hierarchy of needs, you’ve guessed correct. So, what can your online business offer to someone that already has battled through most of the layers of Maslow’s pyramid?
Let’s first have a look at how the pyramid is structured.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Looking at the pyramid, you’ll see that the need for self-actualization is right at the top. On the other hand, can the physiological needs of you customers be found at the bottom of the pyramid. Your customer’s most basic needs start at the bottom of the pyramid. As the needs are satisfied, your customer is motivated to seek the next level of need fulfillment. The need for safety and love/belonging and esteem make out the remainder of the hierarchy.
But will your customer satisfy her need for self-actualization when visiting your website? Maybe you should first recognise who the customers are that seek self-actualization needs…
Characteristics of customers seeking self-actualization (SA)
According to a study by Maslow, people who are looking to find self-actualization can be recognized as follows:
- Realistic – SA persons have a more efficient perception of reality, they have comfortable relations with it. They are un-threatened and un-frightened by the unknown and have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth. Moreover, they are logical and efficient.
- Acceptance – they accept themselves, others and the natural world the way they are. Furthermore do they see human nature as is, have a lack of crippling guilt or shame, and enjoy themselves without regret or apology. Also, they have no unnecessary inhibitions.
- Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness – spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses, they are unhampered by convention. Their ethics is autonomous, they are individuals, and are motivated to continual growth.
- Problem Centring – they focus on problems outside themselves, centred on others. They have a mission in life requiring much energy, their mission is their reason for existence. And, they are serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and are devoted to duty.
- Detachment: The Need for Privacy – SA people are alone but not lonely, unflappable, retain dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, objective. They are self-starters, responsible for themselves, own their behaviour.
- Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment – SA’s rely on inner self for satisfaction. Stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self-contained, independent from love and respect.
- Continued Freshness of Appreciation – they have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things. Appreciation of the basic good in life, moment to moment living is thrilling, transcending and spiritual. They live the present moment to the fullest.
According to Saul McLeod (Simply Psychology), Maslow estimated that only about two percent of people reaches self-actualization.
Gratefully, it’s not everyone that seeks and reaches self-actualization. However, if self-actualization seeking people subscribe to your website, or follow your business on social networks, then you may possess a niche audience.
All that’s left is to keep their attention and monetize their loyalty.
1 Maslow, A.H. 1943. A theory of human motivation, Psychological Review, 50(4):370.