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Sales and Marketing Automation and Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Sales & Marketing Automation with a healthy dose of Consumer Psychology

You may ask - what has Sales and Marketing Automation got to do with Abraham Maslow? And for those of you not familiar with the gentleman in question - he introduced the now very well-known ’Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid’ in his seminal work ’A Theory of Human Motivation’. A significant portion of that work is about the need for people to feel acceptance, recognition and reward from their fellow human beings - friends, family, peers and acquaintances.


Social media has engendered a mini arms race where celebrities and wannabes vie with each other to acquire certain significant levels of followers as well as various aspects of ’points scoring’ - aiming initially to get to 100,000 or 1,000,000 followers, and then be in a position to compete with the likes of Queen of Instagram - Selena Gomez.


Social Media Influencers are a relatively new phenomena, and are increasingly replacing the newspaper and magazine columnists of old. This has become a whole industry by itself, and there are various motivations at play here - financial and otherwise. A very significant part is the recognition element - where individuals feel compelled to share increasingly more shocking and outrageous images to harvest as many likes and social shares as they can. Beyond Abraham Maslow, there is also an element of gamification - but how does all the relate back to automation?


In our context, and at the heart of Affino’s Sales and Marketing Automation lies another hierarchical pyramid of progress - that we call the ’Customer Ladder’. Its 5 stages are as follows:




The idea is that those 5 stages are the different levels that your customers are at, and you need to figure out the motivations and incentives required to keep moving them up a stage - up-sell etc. until such a point that they become full converts or ’Advocate’, and quite unprompted, serve to reinforce and promote your products and brands as well as supporting them in other ways.


Most people’s motivations are typically far from altruistic, so you need to figure out where and how to capture each target group’s attention, and then how to motivate them towards the next task / level.


For Affino we use both public and private means to engage - the public side being represented by ’badges’ sort of like medals awarded for various acts / tasks - and associated points values - so you can have various leaderboards - overall and within categories. These points and activities can trigger any number of different resultant rewards - including rise of status / being promoted to VIP, gaining access to exclusive areas / content, and receiving monetary credits or discounts. It is up to you how much you make overt - badges etc. or if you run everything in background, so the customers are only aware on their personal account screens as to the status of their loyalty points / credits. The former way is more gamification enabled / FMCG while the latter may be more suitable for certain types of Professional Services.

Conversion Event Triggers

 Conversion Event Triggers

The system by which Affino allows you to control your automation is called 'The Customer Ladder' - this has numerous (50+) individual trigger actions called Conversion Events - which can be used to identify, target, motivate and incentivise each of your customer target groups - at the different levels.


Here follows a full list of the Trigger Events currently available - NOTE that some are still 'Classic only' but will be fully transitioned to responsive in due process (alphabetical):

  • Awards Entry
  • Bounced Email
  • Cancelled Purchase
  • Change Password
  • Commenting
  • Contact Note
  • Content Subscription Update
  • Content Subscriptions
  • Demographic Profile Submission/Update
  • Downloads (Channel)
  • Downloads (Media)
  • Downloads (Zone)
  • Ecard
  • Email Confirmed
  • External Media Viewed
  • Facebook / Twitter Connection Added
  • Facebook Expiry
  • Failed Access Attempt
  • Form Entry
  • Forum Answer
  • Forum Post
  • Friend Bought from Invite
  • Friend Invite
  • Friend Registered from Invite
  • Guest Visits
  • Item Added to Basket
  • Item Added to Wishlist
  • Joining a Group
  • Load More
  • Logging In
  • Mailing List Signup
  • Mailing List Unsubscribe
  • Manual Assign
  • Media Added to Channel
  • Message Campaign Read
  • Message Campaign Sent To
  • Metering Gate
  • Metering Limit Reached
  • My Messages Despatches
  • Opportunity Opened
  • Opportunity Won
  • Pledge
  • Profile View
  • Purchase
  • Redirect
  • Registration
  • Share
  • Site Search
  • Specific Channel Viewed
  • Specific Media Viewed
  • Specific Section Viewed
  • Specific Standard Item Viewed
  • Standard Content Added to a Channel
  • Status Updates

Conversion Events Key Components

Conversion Events Key Components

(above visual is Activity Wall - showing latest Conversion Events)


While configuring your various Conversion Events / Triggers you can apply a number of additional conditions to each event - as follows



  • Badges - Public-side Recognition
  • Categories - Suspect | Prospect | Customer | Regular | Advocate
  • Contact Lists - Auto-segmenting for further campaign targeting purposes
  • Content Subscriptions - Automatic sign-up for content category updates
  • Credits - Actual monetary credits / loyalty bonus
  • Customer Messaging - Notifying customers of milestones
  • Frequency - Number of times reward is triggered - for Scaling and Optimisation of points and badge accumulators
  • Member Types - Customer audience profiling
  • Notifications - Which admins / staff get notified when Conversion Event is triggered
  • Points - Leaderboard and Loyalty Points Accumulation
  • Secondary Events - For daisy-chaining sequence / workflow of activities
  • Security Groups - Automatic permissioning - either access or denial
  • Topics - Auto-assignment of Topics for content categorisation / filtering, navigation and personalisation

Campaigns and Messaging

Campaigns and Messaging

Even though the greater part of Sales & Marketing Automation is to be found in The Customer Ladder and Conversion Events, there are other areas of Affino which play their part too.


  • Ad Campaigns - The principal automation element here is Topics - which can be tied into and triggered by page navigation and article subject matter as well as customer interest preferences.
  • Messaging - the more formal Newsletter style messaging component in Affino has a variety of segment triggers which can trigger Birthday Greetings and Offers, Abandoned Shopping Basket Reminders, location, gender and age ranges, and can in turn be triggered by any of the Conversion Events.



None of this would mean anything if it could not be fully tracked, analysed and trended, as as per my piece on the Affino CRM - the Customer Ladder and Conversion Events tracker logs are a significant part of the Single User Screen.



Owing to the greater scope of Affino - and how everything is streamlined through the one system and a single database, you can achieve an incredible granularity of automated activities - either triggered individually or in daisy-chained sequence. Affino alone makes all this possible out-of-the-box.


Stefan Karlsson Profile

Stefan Karlsson, CMO | Founder, Affino

20+ years of high level Branding and Advertising, in Digital since 1999 and have worked with brands including: Audi, Bausch & Lomb, BBC, Champion Automotive / Federal Mogul, Eli Lilly / IVAC, EMI, Diesel, Filmutea, Gill, Humanity Direct, IMRG / Peermap, Kimberly-Clark, Lanes Health, Loctite, MasterCard, Procurement Leaders, Rovio / Angry Birds, Royal Opera House, TSG, Wrigley. Key expertise in Brand Strategy and Brand Origination.


Email or Call +44 (0)20 3393 3240

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