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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Marketing shapes consumer needs and wants versus marketing merely reflects the needs and wants of consumers

Marketing has often been defined in terms of satisfying customers’ needs and wants. Critics, however, maintain that marketing does much more than that, marketing creates needs and wants that did not exist before. According to these critics, marketers encourage consumers to spend more money than they should on goods and services they really do not need.

Take a position
Marketing shapes consumer needs and wants versus marketing merely reflects the needs and wants of consumers.


Suggested Response

Pro: With the vast amount of information available to marketers today and the emphasis on relational marketing, marketers are in more of a position to suggest needs and wants to the public. Certainly, not all consumers have all the needs and wants suggested by society today. However, with the vast amount of exposure to these societal needs and wants via the media, a substantial amount of consumers will, through mere exposure, decide that they “have” the same needs and wants of others. Marketers by their efforts increase peer pressure, and group thinking, by showing examples of what others may have that they do not. An individual’s freedom to choose is substantially weakened by constant and consistent exposure to a range of needs and wants of others. Marketers should understand that when it comes to resisting the pressure to conform, that individuals are and can be weak in their resolve. Marketers must take an ethical position to only market to those consumers able to purchase their products.


Con: Marketing merely reflects societal needs and wants. The perception that marketers influence consumers’ purchasing decisions discounts an individual’s freedom of choice and their individual responsibility. With the advent of the Internet, consumers have greater freedom of choice and more evaluative criteria than every before. Consumers can and do make more informed decisions than previous generations. Marketers can be rightly accused of influencing wants, along with societal factors such as power, influence, peer pressure, and social status. These societal factors pre-exist marketing and would continue to exist if there was no marketing efforts expended.

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