Tapping into student psychology - from baked beans to self-actualisation

We are delighted to present a blog post from The Student Room's Community Manager, Hannah Morrish. Check out her insights into getting into the heads of students:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

One of the best known human psychology models, which every marketer will have had drummed into them thousands of times, is the Hierarchy of Needs. It simplifies the human psyche into a series of ‘need’ layers, from basic needs through to a sense of belonging and eventually achieving our innate higher needs of creativity and morality.

While it’s often criticised, on a day to day basis Maslow hits the nail on the head, for human beings to live happy and emotionally fulfilling lives. Marketing is all about understanding consumer needs right? And if you know people’s needs, you can provide something that helps them to fulfil it.

So where do baked beans come in?

Every human has at a very basic level the same complex mix of needs and students are no different. Young people are still exploring ways to meet their needs in a healthy (or unhealthy) and positive way, some might not even be aware of the needs they have and how this affects their behaviour and lifestyle choices. This then becomes even more complex when they make the decisions on their future pathways.

Most students will leave school or college with the foundations of their needs fulfilled, but soon find themselves struggling. They now have to fulfil their primary needs themselves - baked beans on toast - but ultimately are exploring their higher needs - carving out a sense of belonging, starting to form new foundations of stability with new friends and relationships. Fully exploring morality and society, and finally fully able to present their true selves to the world.

Tapping into student minds

How can marketers support young people to make meaningful decisions that align with their own innate needs and values? And how can this be used to build brand, and increase awareness and sales?

Over 75% of UK visitors on The Student Room are aged between 14-24 and the discussions that they were most interested in during 2015 continue to tell us a lot about the questions, needs and desires of young people - education, career pathways and life style.  

At YMS 2016 I’ll be exploring how your brand, whatever you do, can work much harder by fully understanding the ever changing needs of youth. Helping you to work out what young people are telling you (and not telling you) via social media, turning this into useful insights to build brand and increase your conversion. 

The Student Room is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016. Hannah Morrish will be presenting 'Social media and students: From baked beans to self actualisation' on the 8th of March.

To find out more about the Student Room, head over to the Student Room website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.