Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Food, Security, Love, and More: Check out how you can target your marketing to appeal to your customers’ needs! [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

August 16, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for over 3 decades now, one of the frameworks I truly find effective is Return Driven Strategy (RDS). 

Discussed in detail in the book, “Driven,” this pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations that help businesses achieve true wealth and value creation. 

In this article, we’ll discuss a well-known theory in the context of RDS’ Tenet Two—Fulfill Otherwise Unmet Customer Needs. 

Interested to learn more about today’s topic? 

Keep reading below to know how you can apply RDS to fulfill the basic needs stated in a different framework. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 





These are some of the basic needs that are necessary for survival. According to the Economic Democracy Advocates, these items represent fundamentals that have kept humans alive from the dawn of time to today. 

However, these fundamentals are not all that humans need to survive and thrive…

To live a happy life, our needs for safety and security, community and belonging, self-actualization, and more must also be met.

These needs are explained through the framework called, “Hierarchy of Needs.” 

Photo from SimplyPsychology

The Hierarchy of Needs is a theory of motivation that states there are 5 core categories of human needs that dictate an individual’s behavior. 

Created by American psychologist Abraham Maslow, the framework is based on a person’s physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. 

The theory has a pyramid shape, with basic needs at the bottom to signify a foundational need. He states a person can only move on to the higher levels when their basic needs are met. 

Let’s briefly discuss these categories one by one: 

  • Physiological Needs – These occupy the base of the pyramid and include food, water, sufficient rest, clothing, shelter, and overall physical health. 
  • Safety Needs – These include emotional stability and well-being, health security, financial security, and protection from violence and theft. 
  • Love and Belonging Needs – This third level on the hierarchy relates to human interaction. This includes the need for friendships and family bonds—both with biological family (parents, siblings, children) and chosen family (spouses and partners). 

Additionally, memberships in social groups contribute to meeting this need, such as by belonging to a team of workers or being part of a union, club, or hobbyists. 

  • Esteem Needs – The primary element of this need are self-respect (the belief that you are valuable and deserving of dignity) and self-esteem (confidence in your potential for personal growth and accomplishments). 

Maslow notes your self-esteem can be broken down into two types: Esteem that is based on respect and acknowledgement that you get from others, and esteem that is based on your own self-assessment. He says confidence and independence stem from the latter type of self-esteem. 

  • Self-actualization Needs – These needs describe the fulfillment of your full potential as a person. Self-actualization occupies the top of the hierarchy and includes education, skills development, compassion, empathy, and other goals like learning a new language, traveling to new places, winning awards, etc. 

According to Maslow, having these needs met will enable you to experience optimum and pleasant results in your life. 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Return Driven Strategy’s (RDS) Tenet Two 

Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo say Maslow’s theory can be a valuable tool in identifying innate levels of customer needs. It provides a way of evaluating customers’ motivations beyond what raw data can normally tell. 

Additionally, Maslow’s framework provides poles around which you can organize your marketing efforts. You can specifically target your marketing to appeal to your customers’ needs for esteem, love and fulfillment, or simply the need to survive. 

So, it’s worth asking questions like: 

“Does a person buy a particular can of soda because it quenches thirst, or because of some other need fulfilled?” 

“Does a customer choose a vehicle based on the transportation—or the self-esteem—it provides?” 

“Does a consumer purchase a particular dress because of the basic need for clothing, or also because it enables him/her to receive acknowledgments from others?” 

According to Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, it’s good to incorporate Maslow’s theory into RDS’ Tenet Two—Fulfill Otherwise Unmet Customer Needs—because for different customers, different needs are fulfilled. 


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides special insight into the crafting of a buyer persona, offering a focal point that makes sense of a customer’s motivations and behaviors. 

[Buyer Persona: An outline of an idealized customer that emphasizes his or her internal motivations and pain points.] 

… and for Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, an extensive repertoire of customer research is necessary. Given the frequency with which businesses misjudge what real needs are and the real reasons customers buy, business owners, leaders, and marketers should understand the Hierarchy of Needs. 

Take note of this return-driven tip and apply it in your own business strategy! 

By looking at Maslow’s theory in the lens of RDS’ Tenet Two, you’ll be able to align each quality of your idealized buyer with a specific need, and devise a marketing strategy that better presents your business as a solution to your customers. 

We hope you find today’s topic helpful and insightful! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 

Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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