DOES MARKETING CREATE OR SATISFY NEEDS? Understanding and satisfying human needs, wants and demands is a requisite for every marketing company to effectively communicate, exchange offerings and create value for customers. In fact, the whole concept of marketing is initiated to suit the needs of varying target customer segments, satisfy each segment, and bring about changes relative to their changing preferences. Since human needs are a part of the human makeup, marketers definitely stimulate these needs, but sometimes, may not necessarily create or satisfy them.
To satisfy them, it is thus crucial to understand what makes the customers happy, and use this as an input for designing the company’s marketing strategies. The more successful the strategies, the more profits the company makes and in the process more trust is gained. Some companies have successfully created value through constant interactions with customers through surveys, complaint boxes and personal communication to gain an insight into each party’s needs and satisfy their wants.
For instance, in McDonalds, most of the top executives come to the store, in the same attire as regular staff, and run the orders themselves. They monitor the customer’s behaviour, buying patterns, differing tastes in burgers, extra dips/sauces preferred with each meal, customers reaction to new seasonal offers like the Shrek 3 pesto meals, and accordingly target their main customers with better product offerings and package meals. Also, through close interactions, both parties get a share of value – The seller gains profit while the customer gains satisfaction of achieving or enjoying the final product or service.
In Disney Parks, top managers carefully analyse and monitor behaviour of customers by dressing themselves as Mickey Mouse, Goofy and other characters to get closer to people’s desires. Their main goal is to provide their services in such a way that their performance exceeds customer expectations for utmost buyer delight and satisfaction. Advertising is a commercial promotion of goods and services to increase sales and profits. This makes the people aware of the most recent innovations or replacements in products, and encourages social behaviour.
For instance, no-smoking ads like “Stop Smoking or Stop Breathing” ad for Marlboro help to promote a good deed by discouraging smoking. Through television, newspapers and other extra measures to reach the global audience, it educates and motivates people about non-commercial issues such as AIDS, Deforestation, family planning, etc. Ads on the internet also help in connecting all users with the information they require. This internet marketing is broader in scope and attracts a wide spectrum of customers in all age/class sectors.
In ebay, ads promote shoes which could either be branded – “Guess” to suit the more elite class or “Aldo” for the middle class, or Payless Shoes, to suit the lower income groups. These satisfied buyers go by “word of mouth” and spread the awareness of the product to other ignorant buyers. Thus Marketing not only makes people aware but also mostly is a tool to guide the company in delivering more than they promise. But the view of “Retention of customers” suffers hurdles in the long run due to an increased competition to market each company’s product in a more innovative way.
When people are exposed to more products that arouse their desires, their purchasing power also increases and their needs ultimately become their demands. To suit demands, every seller in the market field makes that mistake of paying more attention to the attributes of the product than the benefits of the product itself. They tend to aggressively sell their products without properly describing them to increase the customer’s usage of the product and acquire more orders – Selling Concept.
According to this, the sellers sell what they make rather than make what the market wants. This ultimately leads to “Marketing Myopia” where the sellers lose sight of what actually makes the customers happy. Over-rated advertising claims and “Larger than Life”, unrealistic marketing strategies just falsely exaggerate a product’s features. For instance, celebrities are used to market various products even if they themselves don’t use them, just to enhance brand recognition to attract customers.
For instance, Michael Jordan’s sneakers were a huge deal in promoting all those Basketball fans that if they wore those sneakers, they could play basketball or jump as high as him. Sometimes, to market unsaleable products, they would price those products with essential ones in special offer packages, so as to aggressively sell them and tempt the customers to pay that extra price premium for those unwanted products. This definitely would not sustain the needs in the long run. Also advertising has its own negative effects depending on the state of mind and past experiences of buyers.
For instance, young kids can easily get attracted by false claims made in ads leading to increases in levels of alcohol consumption and cigarettes after viewing those ads. Also, repeated ads of kid meal offers at Mcdonalds, can persuade kids to consume a lot of junk at that age leading to child obesity problems. Once again “word-of-mouth” of falsely claimed ads does more damage to the reputation of that company in the long run. Thus, parental guidance is essential to help those kids distinguish the good ads from the bad ones.
In Internet Marketing, illicit ads for ‘pornography’ badly shape the youth’s attitudes in the long run. Also, pictures of some products may be excessively photo-shopped online to mislead the buyers regarding the quality of those products. Ebay, for instance, may be overloaded with unnecessary and untrue information about many products. Most of the companies online might input their own share of feedback to boost their name and the consumers would blindly trust and waste their resources by falsely buying those low quality products, which may not even be refundable.
Thus in my view, given pros and cons, marketing no doubt, brings the people connected to the latest technologies and innovations. It does create and satisfy needs, but apart from just satisfying short term needs, even long term needs need to be met through more Relationship Marketing than Sales Transaction Marketing. Long term relations with customers and dealers are important to retain faithful buyers. While it is believed that profits arise from heavy sales and promotions, it’s actually the Marketing concept of truly understanding and satisfying customer needs without deceit that help achieve long term profits.