Tony Robbins’ Six Human Needs and Impulse Marketing  3/15/2018

If you’re a fan of personal growth guru Tony Robbins, you’ve likely heard his discussions on the Six Human Needs that drive our behavior.

“Whatever emotion you’re after, whatever vehicle you pursue—building a business, getting married, raising a family, traveling the world—whatever you think your nirvana is, there are six basic, universal needs that make us tick and drive all human behavior,” he wrote in a blog post on the topic. “Combined, they are the force behind the crazy things (other) people do and the great things we do. We all have the same six needs, but how we value those needs and in what order, determines the direction of our life.”

These needs are: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love & Connection and Growth.

Interestingly, these Six Human Needs can also be applied to the marketing of impulse products, as Trepoint CEO and Inc. columnist Bill Carmody discussed during ECRM’s Impulse: Front-End and Checklane EPPS. Bill is a friend of Tony Robbins, has attended almost a dozen of his events, and has interviewed him on several occasions (including this in-person interview at the release of his Netflix movie, I’m Not Your Guru).

“At different phases of the shopper’s journey, consumers are looking for very different things from the products they are considering based on these human needs,” said Carmody. “By tailoring the marketing of your products to them, you can drive impulse purchases.”

For example, a snack with organic ingredients will appeal to the need for growth, because it’s healthier, but if it’s also a Fair Trade USA-certified product, it will also meet the need for Contribution, as its purchase will help the farmers up the supply chain live better lives. If it’s a trusted brand, it meets the need for certainty, while a new flavor or ingredient satisfies the need for variety. Each of these angles can be tapped in your marketing.

Below are the Six Human Needs, as well as some marketing messaging you can tie to impulse products to address these particular needs.

Certainty: The need to feel in control and to know what’s coming next so we can feel secure. 

  • Feeling — this will make me happy
  • Flavor — I will enjoy the taste
  • Sensation — I will feel more awake
  • Price — I know exactly what this costs
  • History — This has worked for me before
  • Confidence — Someone I trust told me
Variety: The need for something new or never before experienced
  • Surprise — Something unexpected
  • Change — A break from the routine
  • Variation — Slightly different
  • Seasonality — Appropriate timing
  • Updated — Made better in some way
  • Luck — A chance to win something
Significance: The need to feel important, special, unique, or needed. 
  • Award — Customer of the month
  • Special Line — I’m your best customer
  • Secret Menu — I’m in the tribe that knows
  • Level Up — I’ve achieved the next level
  • Badge of Honor — I’m part of the brand
Love and connection
  • Smile — You belong here
  • Name Recognition — I know who you are
  • Identity — I’m part of this tribe
  • Appreciation — Thank you
  • Share & Care — Who else should we know
  • Good Vibes — Makes you feel special
Growth: The need for personal enhancement – physical, mental, spiritual, as well as relationship growth.
  • Stronger — I’m becoming better
  • Improvement — A little better each day
  • Stretch — Not easy, but worth it
  • Energized — Full of vitality
  • Healthy — I feel better about myself
  • New — Trying something better for me
Contribution: Helping others.
  • Cause — Something I support
  • Donation — I want to help out
  • Volunteer — Even more I can do
  • Give Back — Sharing what I have
  • Difference — What I’m doing matters
  • Share — Random act of kindness
Click here to download the slide presentation

Click here to listen to a podcast interview of Bill Carmody on the topic.

Join us at ECRM’s 2019 Impulse: Front-End & Checklane EPPS, where you can help satisfy consumers’ Six Human Needs via new product innovation!

Melinda Young

SVP of General Merchandise

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