• alissaward

The Buyerarchy of Needs – Shifting from Things to Experiences

The oh so familiar Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, has been transformed into a minimalist pyramid, the Buyerarchy of Needs. With a business degree, Maslow’s hierarchy is discussed in just about every marketing class every taken, to help determine what level the item should be categorized as. So let’s just say, I’m pretty familiar with it. And don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy my degree, but there are some ethical dilemmas I face with it as well. When I stumbled upon this Buyerarchy of Needs, I instantly fell in love. While understanding that part of my degree is to encourage people to buy things, I’m trying to take a more ethical approach; to help market products and allow consumers to make an informed decision, and not only using psychology to have them purchase a product.

Buyerarchy of Needs. Photo credit: Sarah Lazarovic

Within my own lifestyle, I’ve always embraced a quality over quantity mentality, and with my soon to be move abroad, I’ve been decluttering and realize just how much unnecessary stuff I own. This little chart, helps to put into perspective how we really should be attaining new stuff, with the smallest amount being purchased new, and the largest amount being up-cycled from already purchased products. Additionally borrowing from family/ friends, swapping items that you longer have a purpose for but someone else may, using thrift stores, making the item, etc, are all ways to make such a difference at the end of the day. Yes, this may be less convenient than doing some online shopping, (guilty), and in the matter on minutes having a new item on it’s way to you, but spending the time to determine how else you could attain the product, in a more sustainable way, will have a positive impact. Additionally, encouraging others around you to try to make this shift as well, away from buying new, and finding creative ways to save money and the environment all at the same time.

This is a huge aspect of my life that I’m trying to shift to, but I’m really excited to try. I’ve always made excuses, I don’t have time to go to local markets, I’m always working or in class, online shopping is just so convenient, but finding a balance is so important. Being able to spend a weekend at a market, wandering through stores is always one of my favourite ways to spend time in a new city, so I need to start embracing that in the cities that I live in.

With this being said, I’m trying to live a much more minimalist lifestyle. I’ve fallen in love with travelling, particularly hiking, and unfortunately, this isn’t exactly a cheap hobby. So to counteract the costs of travelling, I’ve stopped buying stuff and really narrowed down my purchases to those that are of high quality and will last a long time and are from (ideally) sustainable companies. I’m trying to fully embrace the Buyerarchy of Needs, so I can see more of the world, a pretty reasonable tradeoff I think!

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