Marketing Satisfying Consumer Needs
What marketing does for the consumer is probably the most ravenous debate of this modern day and age. Marketing critics, business circles, consumers all have criticized the marketing of today to the very ends of the world and have raised many concerns. A lot of the marketing critics question the ethics behind the whole setup and if they indeed satisfy a consumer’s need or not. Many also have led to the conclusion that marketing strategies are not prepared to satisfy a consumer’s need but only to increase and produce unnecessary wants and wishes which previously did not exist.
Any successful marketing strategy understands your customers and their needs. Your ability to satisfy your customers' needs better than your competitors are able to will encourage customers to return to you. Industry research, market fragmentation, costs, distribution and influence of technological factor combine simultaneously in evaluating and exploring the customer’s desires and latest trends. With the turn of the new century, we have witnessed a drastic shift in marketing strategies and objectives. This shift is basically the manipulation of a basic need of a consumer into a desire/want making it necessary for the consumer to rely on your product/service to quench his underlying need. For example: human beings need to eat to survive, this need can be fulfilled by any type of food, however fast food chains today with the help of billboards, advertisements and tempting offers make certain this need is turned into a desire for perhaps a McDonald’s burger or a Pizza Hut’s pizza.
Today the CMO of a particular company is told to carry out campaigns not to make people aware of the company’s product/service but to sell it under any circumstances. When you speak of the modern times, marketing influences are daily life-choices a lot more than we assume it to. We now see companies competing with each other not to be the best in their field but to see who can satisfy the need of the customer first. With the help of advertisements, direct marketing, door-to-door sales, campaigns, discounts, promotions, magazines, and Internet they are all engaged in a rat race in building a need in the consumer’s mind for their product/service. Their push and pull marketing strategies are designed to persuade consumers into becoming their customers. (Does Marketing Create, 2011)
Many of these push and pull strategies involve roping in famous artists, models, musicians into their advertisements and illustrations to engaged the audience. They communicate our to their audience using people and messages that relate to or look up to and make the them like their product/service irrespective of the fact that the actual need does exist or not. To explain this we can take the example of Mac books or laptops, today these are very common amongst students even school going kids but do they really need them? Can’t the students manage with desktop systems at home? But this is where companies manipulate it into becoming a need for the audience or what one might call ‘creating a need’. Another tool companies use to make sure that the consumer will purchase their product/service is using catalysts like the word “free” in their strategies; ‘buy one get one free’, free installation, free inspection, free consultation etc entice the consumer into buying the product/service even if they might not need it at all. To elucidate this stance we can refer to the marketing philosopher Philip Kotler’s words, “Marketers do not create needs: Needs preexist marketers, marketers along with other societal factors, influence wants. Marketers might promote idea that Mercedes would satisfy a person’s need for social status. They do not, however, create the need for social status”. (Kotler, 2002)
Companies alone cannot be held responsible for this shift as this is partly owing to the diverse segmentation in terms of consumers. Today a company has to market a product/service keeping in mind the behavior, cultural, social, and personal factors. Not to mention the geographic variables that complicates this process furthermore. The demographic and psychographic factors only add to the problem matter at hand. Selling a single product/service to entire population is not a cake walk. In order to make sure the sales graph never falls, companies sometimes forcibly carry out unethical promotions or lure in consumers but offering something too tempting to resist. We can safely state that marketing creates the need and then satisfies it for the customer. What marketers should do is provide enough information to help the consumers make an informed decision even if the initial need is created by them only. We understand that humanly needs never end; there will always be space for more. Marketers will always be able to add to these needs and wants and thus they should adopt methods that are knowledgeable and creative in approach making the audience not only the product/service but to comprehend if the ‘want’ surpasses the ‘need’ or not.
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